Report on Public Housing Authorities Provides Rare but Vital Data

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has published a study with participation from the Research and Data Analysis Division (RDA) detailing information about clients that receive assistance from public housing authorities (PHAs).  The report, titled “Characteristics of Housing Assistance Recipients from Three Public Housing Authorities,” poses three central questions to frame its analysis:

  • To what extent do DSHS and PHAs serve the same individuals?
  • What are the characteristics and service use profiles of jointly served PHA-DSHS clients?
  • To what extent do PHA clients differ from other DSHS clients?

Data in this field helps to reveal the impact of housing assistance in regard to both individual and family outcomes. Key findings in this report demonstrate that 96% of clients in calendar year (CY) 2011 were also DSHS clients at some point in time, and 84% received DSHS assistance in the same year. Additionally, PHA clients most commonly received medical coverage and Basic Food as an extension of DSHS services. In comparison to DSHS clients who did not receive public housing assistance, PHAs clients were more likely to be older, female, and African American, receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Basic Food, and have a behavioral or physical health condition – particularly concentrated within working age adults. The results exhibited in study are particularly significant because data about the living conditions of PHA housing is often difficult to obtain and transfer into stated administrative databases and lead to improved housing quality.

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