The goal of the Social Service Program at Bonnie Brae Village is to provide supportive housing which allows formerly homeless seniors with a mental health diagnosis to maintain the highest degree of independence, mental and physical health, and emotional well-being.
Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA) engaged in a process and outcome evaluation to assess the program’s effectiveness, to inform improvements, and to build capacity for program replication. Key findings emerged around: access to staff, quality of life outcomes, and data collection procedures.
Overall, tenants reported they felt comfortable, safe, and satisfied with their surroundings. The majority (61%) of tenants would like to have contact with a social worker once a month with 27% asking for greater frequency and 12% saying none at all. From year one to year two, social workers were able to increase the amount of services they provided tenants.
Quality of life measures indicated a slight improvement or stability in self-reported health. Forty-three percent of tenants reported having the same health after one year, 27% felt their health had improved, and 30% reported a decline. The number of days that poor physical and mental health kept tenants from doing usual activities decreased over time.
The evaluation revealed inconsistencies with data collection in part because of lengthy intake assessments and screening tools that undermined staff efforts to engage residents. The report discusses strategies for minimizing inconsistencies and incentivizing tenant participation.
The final section of the report discusses ideas for improving data collection, staff & tenant relations, tenant engagement, and partnerships.
Tenants at Bonnie Brae Village mirror research findings about the characteristics of the aging homeless population. Homeless older adults have co-occurring disorders and health conditions that require a level of service similar to that of a much older frailer population.
ALA is fortunate to have resources allocated for serving homeless older adults in permanent supportive housing. The level of resources and staffing at Bonnie Brae Village should be made available for the benefit of the broader at-risk senior population – thousands of whom are aging in multifamily housing that lacks adequate onsite services.
Vital Research conducted the evaluation. They specialize in program evaluation including survey development and the statistical analysis of outputs and outcomes of aging services, social services, and health care.