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Consumer Integration and Self-Determination in Homelessness Research, Policy, Planning, and Services



Release Date: 
September 2007 (55 pages)
Posted Date:   
December 31, 2008



Susan Barrow, PhD, NY State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
Lorraine McMullin, Mental Health Association in New York State, Albany, NY
Julia Tripp, Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts, Randolph, MA
Sam Tsemberis, PhD, Pathways to Housing, New York, NY


Disclaimer: The paper presents the views and opinions of the respective author(s) and does not necessarily represent the views, positions, and policies of the federal government.


In this paper, the authors assess how the process and outcomes of research, policy, and service delivery change when they involve or are driven by people who have themselves experienced homelessness. They review the available evaluation literature and present lessons from the field on consumer integration in research, policy, and program implementation. Barriers to consumer integration and strategies for addressing these barriers are described. Barrow and her colleagues further address what happens when people who are homeless make the decisions about the housing and services they need. They conclude by reviewing findings on the individual- and system-level impacts of consumer-driven approaches to homeless assistance.