Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Urban Institute Project Will Aid Low-Income Residents and their Communities

Today, the Urban Institute announced the Housing Opportunities and Services Together(HOST) project, which will test innovative ways for human service providers to help impoverished residents find and keep jobs, assets, and stay healthy. The three year, approximately $6 million initiative, will evaluate the ways to coordinate public housing and human services in Portland, Oregon and Chicago. The ultimate goal of the effort is to maximize positive outcomes for kids and families. The project will also emphasize youth services — a rarity in public housing developments.

According to the press release, the project — which is based on the institute's Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration, a three-year effort to provide an array of intensive services to public housing families struggling with persistent unemployment, substance abuse, and emotional and physical trauma — will include partnerships with the Housing Authority of Portland and the New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens mixed-income developments; the Chicago-based Community Builders and the Oakwood Shores mixed-income development; and the Chicago Housing Authority and Altgeld Gardens public housing development. The institute will work to help the groups fine-tune their services to address clients' needs, provide supplementary funds for service expansion, and evaluate the project's results.

"This project will help get to the bottom of what it takes to strengthen and empower low-income residents and their communities," said Susan Popkin, director of the Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development. "We hope the results will inform how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing agencies develop place-based, supportive environments."

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