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A Test of Outreach and Drop-in Linkage Versus Shelter Linkage for Connecting Homeless Youth to Services
Published: Electronically published in 2016 (a more recently published version of this article may be available)
These authors examined the effectiveness of strengths-based outreach and advocacy for non-service-connected, substance-using homeless youth. They also explored how the nature of the first contact (drop-in versus shelter) impacts subsequent service connection and outcomes. A total of 79 youth were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of advocacy that focused on linking youth to a drop-in center (n =40) or to a crisis shelter (n = 39). Participants were assessed at baseline and 3, 6, and 9 months post-baseline. Results indicate that youth preferred drop-in center services to the shelter. Also, the drop-in center linkage condition was associated with more service linkage overall and better alcohol and HIV-related outcomes compared to the shelter linkage condition. Findings highlight the importance of outreach and service linkage for reconnecting service-marginalized youth, and support drop-in centers as a primary service option for homeless youth. Modified Author Abstract.