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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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In compliance with section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 concerning opportunity for public comment on proposed collections of information, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the information collection plans, call the SAMHSA Reports Clearance Officer on (301) 443-7978.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Proposed Project

National Outcomes Performance Assessment of the Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness—New—This Initiative is coordinated by the U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless and involves the participation of three Council members: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Within HHS, SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services is the lead agency.

This project will monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the Initiative. A national assessment of client outcomes is needed to assure a high level of accountability and to identify which models work best for which people, using the same methods for all sites. To this end, this project will provide a site-by-site description of program implementation, as well as descriptive information on clients served; services received; housing quality, stability, and satisfaction; and, client outcomes in health and functional domains. The VA Northeast Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC), based at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, Connecticut, will be responsible for conducting this project.

Data collection will be conducted over a 36-month period. At each site, a series of measures will be used to assess (1) program implementation (e.g., number and types of housing units produced and intensity and types of treatment and supportive services provided), (2) client descriptive information (e.g., demographic and clinical characteristics, and housing and treatment services received) and, (3) client outcomes.

Client outcomes will be measured using a series of structured instruments administered by evaluation personnel employed and funded by the local VA medical center or outpatient clinic involved at each Initiative site who will work closely with central NEPEC staff. Assessments will be conducted through face-to-face interviews and, when needed, telephone interviews. Interviews (approximately one hour in length) will be conducted at baseline, defined as the date of entry into the clinical treatment program leading to placement into permanent housing, and quarterly (every 3 months) thereafter for up to three years. Discharge data will be collected from program staff at the time of official discharge from the program, or when the client has not had any clinical contact from members of the program staff for at least 6 months. In addition to client interviews, key informant interviews with up to 15 program managers at each site will be conducted annually.

At most Initiative sites, it is expected that more people will be screened and/or evaluated for participation in the program than receive the full range of core housing and treatment services. We have conceptualized entry into the Initiative as a two-phase process involving an Outreach/Screening/Assessment Phase (Phase I), and an Active Housing Placement/Treatment Phase (Phase II) that is expected to lead to exit from homelessness. In some programs these two phases may be described as the Outreach and Case Management Phases. It will be important to have at least some minimal information on all clients so as to be able to compare those who enter Housing/Treatment with those who do not.

Client-level data at the time of first contact with the program (i.e., before the client receives more intensive treatment or housing services) will be collected using a screener form. The screener form will be completed by the Evaluation assistant or member of the clinical staff when prospective clients are first told about the program, and express interest in participating in the program (i.e., when they enter Phase I). The purpose of this form is to identify the sampling frame of the evaluation at Start Printed Page 16808each site, or the pool of potential clients from which clients are then selected. Program implementation will be measured using a series of progress summaries.

Initiative sites will be responsible for screening potential participants, assessing homeless and disabling condition eligibility criteria for the program, and documenting eligibility as part of the national performance assessment. Each site will identify a limited number of portals of entry into the program in a relatively small geographic area, so that the evaluator can practically and systematically contact clients about participating in the evaluation. VA evaluation staff, clinical program staff, and NEPEC will work together to establish systematic procedures for assessing eligibility, enrolling clients into the Housing/Treatment Activity of the Initiative, obtaining written informed consent to participate in the national performance assessment, and other evaluation activities.

The estimated response burden to collect this information is as follows:

InstrumentNo. of respondentsResponses/ respondentBurden/ response (hrs)Total burden (hrs)
Client screener (completed by program staff)103000.083249
Client baseline interview1,20011.001,200
Client followup interviews1,200110.678,844
Client discharge form (completed by program staff)101200.083100
Key informant interviews with site program managers10831.00324
3-Year annual average1,3183,572

Send comments to Nancy Pearce, SAMHSA Reports Clearance Officer, Room 16-105, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Dated: April 1, 2003.

Richard Kopanda,

Executive Officer, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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[FR Doc. 03-8324 Filed 4-4-03; 8:45 am]