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Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative Dissertation

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Updated: Mar 12th, 2022

This paper focuses on the Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative preliminary report findings submitted to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2004.The evaluation report focuses on the impacts the sound families initiative has had on families which are beneficiaries of a transitional housing program developed to provide new housing and support services for homeless families or families in danger of becoming homeless in three counties namely King, Pierce and Snohomish with support from the Bill & Melinda gates foundation. Evaluation findings indicate that 292 families were served through the program. Majority of the families (66%) moved to stable permanent housing after exiting the program, 18% of the families moved to live with their families or friends. Of the remaining percentage, 7% headed to shelter, jailor inpatient treatment.The fate of the remaining 9%remained unknown (Bodonyi, 2004, p.5).

The evaluation questions were designed at three levels. On the first level, clients were asked questions relating to changes on economic indicators, housing, social support networks, arrests, changes in use of emergency health care, whether children are stable in school. Clients were also asked about their satisfaction with the housing programs and to give feed back on how the program can be improved. Finally, clients were asked about what services they were receiving and the continuity of those services as well. The second level involved project mangers who answered questions relating to changes on availability of capital, new collaborations between stakeholders, operation and funding of services programs and how the capacities of the programs could be enriched. They were also asked to give important data concerning program structures, funding and also their experiences in implementing a Sound family funded project. (Bodonyi, 2004, p.6)

Questions asked to stakeholders comprised the third level of evaluation. The questions related to changes on resources available to develop transitional housing within the counties, provision of funding and sustainability of support services offered and new collaborations that have to be formed.

The principal research method used for the evaluation was case study while data was collected by the use of interviews, surveys the main data collection tools were interview, survey Client interviews were conducted 6months after admission to the program. Follow up interviews were carried out after 6months, 1year and 2years after exit from the program. Project managers completed a written survey at the end of every year. Data was also collected using an online system for those not included in the case studies. Client intake forms were used to collect data at registration of clients into the program (Bodonyi, 2004, p.7).

The design used for evaluating the sound families’ initiative is a good one because of its participatory approach. However there are notable weaknesses that can potentially cause the design to be ineffective. First, the annual survey for project managers is based on the critical assumption that the project managers will stay till that long. This can be changed to be done semi- annually with a mandatory minimum period for which mangers are required to work within the projects. Data collected through interviews limits an overriding generalization to all counties.A more appropriate approach would for example utilize longitudinal studies. This is based on the assumption that the initiative will continue to be implemented as the factors that cause homelessness are dynamic. The time families spend in transitional homes is another factor that ought to be considered carefully. The average of 8.3 months is not sufficient time to make general conclusions. The evaluation design does not again evaluate the stability of permanent housing destinations beyond 2 years after exit from the program or the outcomes for those families chased from the program (Matulef, p. 41).

Reference List

Bodonyi, J. (2004). Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative: Preliminary findings. Web.

Matulef, M. L. (1995). National evaluation of the Supportive Housing Demonstration Program: final report. Rockville: Diane publishing.

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