This evaluation examined the impact of the Domestic Violence Housing First Model on intimate partner violence (IPV) survivor’s safety and housing stability after 6 months of operation.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a leading cause of homelessness, yet little evidence exists about effective strategies to assist IPV survivors as they work to avoid homelessness while freeing themselves from abuse. An ongoing demonstration evaluation is examining if and how one promising model assists IPV survivors in obtaining safe and stable housing over time. The Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF) model involves providing IPV survivors with mobile advocacy and/or flexible funding, depending on individual needs, in order to attain these goals. We hypothesized that those receiving DVHF would experience greater housing stability and less re-abuse compared to survivors receiving services as usual. The current study evaluated the short-term efficacy of the DVHF model with a sample of 345 homeless or unstably housed survivors who sought services and who completed in-person interviews shortly after contacting the DV agency, as well as six months later. Those who received the DVHF model showed greater improvement in their housing stability compared to those receiving services as usual, as well as decreased economic abuse. Both groups experienced a sharp decline in all forms of abuse. The Domestic Violence Housing First model shows promise in helping unstably housed DV survivors achieve safe and stable housing. Study findings have implications for DV agencies as well as those funding such services. Understanding which interventions work best for which survivors is critical to ensuring that service providers are effectively working toward long-term housing stability and well-being for IPV survivors and their children. (Publisher abstract provided)