Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is an effective intervention to improve residential stability and reduce the utilization of costlier healthcare services for the chronically homeless. However, there has been little focus on health-related quality of life (HRQL) once they enter PSH, and the potential influence of other factors including the PSH model. Study results can shed light on the HRQL of the PSH population and inform strategies to improve PSH program effectiveness in this area.
In this cross-sectional study, survey methods were used to assess the HRQL of PSH residents in the Chicago metropolitan area. The survey also included questions on socio-demographics, health behaviors, housing and neighborhood characteristics, and housing satisfaction. The SF-36 was used to obtain physical (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores for HRQL. Other variables were selected using the Wilson and Cleary HRQL model. Statistical analyses included summary statistics, bivariate analyses, and fully adjusted linear regression models.
The study sample included 855 adults currently in PSH. The sample was predominantly African American men with an average age of 53 years. Mean scores for PCS and MCS were 39.4 and 46.1, respectively, (out of 100). In adjusted analyses, older age and being on disability were associated with worse PCS. Having HIV was associated with better PCS. Being non-Hispanic Black, living in fixed-sited housing, and being in PSH for longer durations were associated with better MCS. More depressive symptoms was associated with worse PCS and MCS.
While both aspects of the PSH model (housing configuration and service provision) were initially associated with HRQL in unadjusted analyses, housing configuration was the only PSH model variable that remained significant once accounting for other factors. Depressive symptomology and the social environment also appear to be important correlates of HRQL and are potential areas to target in PSH programs.