Family Unification Program/Family Self-Sufficiency Demonstration Evaluation

The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment.

60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection:
Family Unification Program/Family Self-Sufficiency Demonstration Evaluation

This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in Section A.

The Family Unification Program/Family Self-Sufficiency (FUP/FSS) Demonstration, authorized in HUD's FY 2015 appropriations, was designed to test whether combining FUP and FSS for eligible youth would result in beneficial outcomes. The demonstration program was first announced in January 2016, and a total of 51 PHAs are participating in the demonstration as of 2019. As a part of the demonstration, the time limit on rental assistance was extended to match the maximum allowable five-year FSS contract (at the start of the demonstration, this was an increase from 18 months, although FUP-Youth vouchers were extended to 36 months shortly after the time the demonstration was announced). No funds or additional FUP vouchers were allocated for the demonstration, although certain regulatory requirements were relaxed for participating Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), with the aim of better aligning the existing programs into the new approach. As a result, all participating PHAs already had FUP allocations. Participating PHAs can choose to modify their FSS programs to better meet the needs of youth participants. The most recent FUP awards (FY17 and FY18) require partnership with a local Continuum of Care (CoC), which can increase referrals of eligible youth through coordinated entry.

The main goal of the FUP/FSS Demonstration Evaluation is to assess whether the combination of FUP and FSS, along with the extension of time limits, has been an effective approach to improving housing stability and self-sufficiency outcomes for youth aging out of foster care. Related to this is whether participation in the demonstration has provided an avenue for closer and more productive partnerships between PHAs, Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWAs), and other youth-focused organizations involved. This includes capturing information about how PHAs and their PCWA partners have worked together to implement the demonstration program and the challenges and lessons learned from their experience to date.

Initial take-up rates for the demonstration, as well as non-demonstration FUP-Youth voucher issuances, have both generally been low. Given these low take-up rates, an additional baseline goal will be to assess the extent to which the FUP/FSS Demonstration is being actively implemented across the 51 participating PHAs and why some sites that applied Start Printed Page 1823to the demonstration do not appear to be implementing the program or issuing many FUP-Youth vouchers. To this end, while many of the core evaluation questions are focused on implementation questions and challenges, the study will also necessarily explore why some demonstration sites do not appear to be fully engaged with the program. Finally, a goal of the evaluation is to measure short-term outcomes for participating youth and determine any emerging common attributes among them.

This notice announces HUD's intent to collect information through the following methods: (1) Study investigators (from Urban Institute) will administer an agency-level web-based survey to all PHAs and PCWAs participating in the demonstration. (2) Investigators will conduct one-time telephone interviews with a sample of staff from 10 PHAs in the demonstration to gather more nuanced information than can be collected in the web-based surveys. (3) Investigators will also visit three FUP/FSS demonstration sites to conduct interviews with PHA and PCWA administrators, front-line workers, community service providers, as well as interviews with youth participants. (4) To describe the characteristics of the participating PHAs and FUP/FSS participants and measure short-term outcomes, the study investigators will analyze HUD Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) and Voucher Management System (VMS) administrative data.

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