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Stuck in Homelessness:
The Rockville Institute Studies Barriers to Exiting Homelessness

In collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Rockville Institute has begun working on the Massachusetts Homeless Families Project. The institute will examine the pathways families follow in exiting shelters. A particular focus of the project is the role that services play in the exit process, as well as other factors that facilitate or block families from leaving homelessness successfully.

Researchers will use data gathered through interviews with the full census of families entering shelters in Worcester, Massachusetts, over a 9-month period. The analysis will determine what distinguishes families who are able to exit homeless shelters within 6 months from those who cannot get out of the system.

"The exciting aspect about this study," explained Debra J. Rog, PhD, and the Rockville Institute project director of the study, "is that this is a small-scale study of a topic that has not been rigorously explored. We will be able to build on these data for future research. It will provide a rich resource of information about the extent to which families are stuck in homelessness. We will understand the barriers to exiting homelessness and the services that are not meeting needs."

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