Project Provides Benefits of Home Visiting for Families Experiencing Homelessness

Chapin Hall serves as evaluation partner

Far too many families with young children experience homelessness. And we know that homelessness during early childhood can have long-lasting negative consequences. It can also reduce access to early childhood programs like home visiting.

Start Early, a Chicago-based nonprofit, developed the Home Visiting for Homeless Families (HVHF) project to better serve families experiencing homelessness. Start Early is implementing the project in collaboration with several community partners, including home visiting programs and homeless service providers. The graphic below shows the broad range of community partners involved with this effort.


The goals of the project are to:

  • Remove barriers to home visiting faced by families experiencing homelessness;
  • Make home visiting more responsive to the needs of those families;
  • Inform changes in policy and practice; and
  • Increase integration and alignment across homeless service providers and home visiting programs.

The project started about six years ago. In Fall of 2020 Chapin Hall, at Start Early’s invitation, began a formative evaluation of the HVHF project. With funding from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, the Chapin Hall research team designed an evaluation with five main objectives:

  • Develop an internally consistent and testable logic model for the HVHF project.
  • Offer recommendations to improve the HVHF project’s implementation fidelity.
  • Assess the project’s short-term outcomes.
  • Offer recommendations to address ongoing barriers to engagement.
  • Assess the feasibility of conducting a rigorous evaluation.

The Chapin Hall research team is led by Senior Research Fellow Dr. Amy Dworsky and includes Researchers Erin Devorah Carreon, Dr. Amanda Griffin, and Dr. Beth McDaniel. The researchers are interviewing parents receiving home visiting services, home visitors and their supervisors, and are analyzing administrative data. In 2022, they published a report and a brief based on their evaluation of the HVHF Project. They found that while progress has been made toward increasing homeless families’ access to home visiting services, providing home visiting services to homeless families poses unique challenges that still need to be addressed.

For more information about this project, contact Dr. Amy Dworsky, Erin Devorah Carreon, Dr. Amanda Griffin, or Dr. Beth McDaniel.