Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) Program National Outcomes Evaluation

Addressing chronic homelessness

HSRI designed a robust evaluation of a SAMHSA-funded program aimed at preventing and reducing chronic homelessness.


Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) was one of several targeted SAMHSA programs and resources aimed at addressing and preventing homelessness.

SSH focused on expanding community treatment and recovery services for veterans who experience homelessness and non-veteran individuals and families who experience chronic homelessness.

  • Evaluation
  • Performance Measurement
  • Research Design

Evaluating permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs  

The SAMHSA Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) program provided support and wraparound services to individuals in supportive housing, combining housing assistance with services. This combination is known as permanent supportive housing, or PSH.  PSH makes long-term, community-based services available to people experiencing chronic homelessness. It’s proven to be one of the most successful interventions for ending chronic homelessness.

The following are critical or key elements of PSH:

  • Decent, safe and affordable housing
  • Choice of housing
  • Access to housing
  • Housing integration
  • Rights of tenancy
  • Flexible and voluntary services
  • Functional separation of housing and services

Determining program processes and outcomes

SAMHSA selected HSRI to lead the national outcome evaluation of its SSH program. With our partners TAC and CMHPSR, we designed an evaluation that would:

  • Include both qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Evaluate fidelity to the PSH model
  • Examine the comparative effectiveness of various evidence-based practices
  • Examine how the PSH model was being implemented to serve diverse populations and ethnic groups and in different geographic settings
  • Inform the understanding of which mix of interventions worked best for which clients under which conditions and in the most cost-effective manner

The evaluation was designed to include a process, outcome and cost evaluation component and to utilize a mixed-method approach that would combine quantitative and qualitative methods. The evaluation design involved utilizing primary and secondary data sources, including:

  • Client level data reported via the SAMHSA National Outcomes Measures (NOMS) 
  • Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data
  • Online surveys
  • Telephone interviews
  • PSH fidelity measurement
  • Consumer surveys
  • Site visits
  • Consumer focus groups

Project deliverables

HSRI’s evaluation plan and data collection protocols included:

  • A data extraction form
  • Online surveys and telephone guides to be used with program management and direct care staff
  • A PSH fidelity scale (based on the SAMHSA PSH Toolkit)
  • A consumer survey
  • Site visit protocol which included discussion guides for use with program management staff, direct care staff, service providers/partnering agencies, local evaluators, and consumers.

We also prepared and submitted to SAMHSA an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Clearance Package and IT and Security plans. We used the evaluation plan and related tools in a subsequent evaluation of SAMHSA’s homelessness program offerings.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Project Partner(s):

Technical Assistance Collaborative

Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research of the University of Pennsylvania

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