A mixed methods randomised control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the journey to social inclusion – phase 2 intervention for chronically homeless adults: study protocol

Shannen Vallesi, Paul Flatau, Monica Thielking , Jessica Mackelprang, Kathryn Taylor, Louise La Sala, Jude Spiers, Lisa Wood, Karen Martin, Darja Kragt, Leanne Lester, Elizabeth Whittaker, Ryan Courtney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background

Chronic homelessness is a problem characterised by longstanding inability to attain or maintain secure accommodation. Longitudinal research with homeless populations is challenging, and randomised controlled trials that evaluate the effectiveness of intensive, case management interventions aimed at improving housing and health-related outcomes for chronically homelessness people are scant. More research is needed to inform programmatic design and policy frameworks in this area. This study protocol details an evaluation of the Journey to Social Inclusion – Phase 2 program, an intervention designed to reduce homelessness and improve outcomes in chronically homeless adults.

Methods/design

J2SI Phase 2 is a three-year, mixed methods, multi-site, RCT that enrolled 186 participants aged 25 to 50 years between 07 January 2016 and 30 September 2016 in Melbourne. The intervention group (n = 90 recruited) receives the J2SI Phase 2 program, a trauma-informed intervention that integrates intensive case management and service coordination; transition to housing and support to sustain tenancy; and support to build social connections, obtain employment and foster independence. The comparison group (n = 96 recruited) receives standard service provision. Prior to randomisation, participants completed a baseline survey. Follow-up surveys will be completed every six months for three years (six in total). In addition to self-report data on history of homelessness and housing, physical and mental health, substance use, quality of life, social connectedness and public service utilisation, linked administrative data on participants’ public services utilisation (e.g., hospitalisation, justice system) will be obtained for the three-year period pre- and post-randomisation. Semi-structured, qualitative interviews will be conducted with a randomly selected subset of participants and service providers at three time-points to explore changes in key outcome variables and to examine individual experiences with the intervention and standard service provision. An economic evaluation of the intervention and associated costs will also be
undertaken.

Discussion

Results of this trial will provide robust evidence on the effectiveness of J2SI Phase 2 compared to standard service provision. If the intervention demonstrates effectiveness in improving housing, health, quality-of-life, and other social outcomes, it may be considered for broader national and international dissemination to improve outcomes among chronically homeless adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number334
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Public Helath
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019

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