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Cityscape: Volume 19 Number 3 | U.S. Commentary: Insights From the Family Options Study Regarding Housing and Intimate Partner Violence


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Family Options Study

Volume 19, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

U.S. Commentary: Insights From the Family Options Study Regarding Housing and Intimate Partner Violence

Nicole E. Allen
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Family Options Study examines four approaches to addressing homelessness: permanent housing subsidy, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and usual care (Gubits et al., 2016). Importantly, the study finds that, at a 3-year followup, a smaller percentage of permanent housing subsidy recipients reported experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in the past 6 months when compared with those receiving usual care; these differences were not observed for the transitional housing or rapid re-housing groups. Further, being a survivor of IPV at the baseline assessment is positively correlated with leaving a partner at 37 months, and survivors with permanent housing subsidies were more likely to separate from partners than those in usual care. Finally, families with more complex psychosocial needs compared with those families with fewer needs may have a greater reduction in the experience of IPV when in transitional housing. Although the Family Options Study offers important findings to inform housing policy for survivors of IPV, the study also points to important avenues for future research. These avenues include (1) measurement issues in the assessment of IPV, (2) the complexity of examining separation from one’s partner as a desirable outcome, and (3) the importance of survivor-centered practice when considering housing policy for survivors of IPV.

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