Implementation Evaluation Proposal: City of Joplin Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) Sample

Posted on January 19, 2024


After the 2007-8 financial emergency, homelessness became a critical social issue in the United States. The economic downturn triggered job losses and housing instability in the country. The City of Joplin, Missouri, was not immune to this crisis, and the demographics and socioeconomic landscape further aggravated the gravity of this issue. The 50,000-population city has 21,000 households, with only 57 percent homeowners (US Census Bureau, 2022). Moreover, 17.6 percent of the people live in poverty, which has compounded the problem in the City of Joplin (US Census Bureau, 2022). The US HUD developed the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) to resolve this issue. This proposal aims to evaluate the HPRP implementation effectiveness in the City of Joplin.

The HPRP addresses the pervasive issue of homelessness in the region. The program involves several key stakeholders and parties in Joplin, including the local government, nonprofit organizations, community-based groups, and HPRP staff, including case managers, housing specialists, counselors, and administrative personnel. The implementation policy involves steps designed to ensure the program delivers the intended objectives. Firstly, the City of Joplin’s staff and partner organizations receive training on HPRP’s guidelines, which covers eligibility criteria, program requirements, and documentation standards. Next, after applications from individuals at risk of homelessness, HPRP staff conduct assessments to determine eligibility and the level of assistance needed. Case managers then develop housing stability plans, identify appropriate options, and connect participants to HPRP support services. HPRP staff then disburse financial assistance to eligible participants, including rent, security deposits, utility payments, and moving costs. Also, City staff collect data on participant progress and report it to the HUD. Therefore, compliance with HPRP’s policy is essential for proper implementation.

This project evaluates whether Joplin’s staff and partner organizations implement HPRP effectively for several reasons. Firstly, adherence to program procedures is paramount for successfully implementing any initiative. According to Bailey et al. (2018), consistent implementation of policies helps maintain integrity, safeguards against misuse of resources, and ensures equitable service delivery to all eligible beneficiaries. Secondly, effective communication is a fundamental pillar for the success of any program. Othman et al. (2020) contend that transparent communication channels help build trust, reduce ambiguity, enable quick problem-solving, and foster a shared vision among team members. Thirdly, the allocation of resources is a pivotal determinant of project success. Inadequate resources, such as funding, personnel, training, and materials, can hinder service delivery, limit outreach efforts, and compromise program outcomes (Buniya et al., 2021). Finally, a community-specific approach is fundamental to tailoring programs, such as HPRP, to the unique needs of the local population (Janda et al., 2021). As such, this project seeks to answer three major evaluation questions:

  1. How well are HPRP policies being followed by City staff and partner organizations? 
  2. Does the City staff and partner organizations have adequate resources for HPRP implementation?
  3. Are there any unique challenges to HPRP implementation specific to the Joplin community?

The results of this implementation evaluation project are integral for various stakeholders. Firstly, policymakers will gain insights into its impact on homelessness in the City of Joplin, enabling them to make informed decisions about the allocation of public resources (Pruit et al., 2018). Service providers can also establish what aspects of their services are most effective in aiding homeless families. This knowledge allows them to adapt and improve their practices to better meet the unique needs of their clients (Rog et al., 2021). Finally, the project will give community members confidence that their struggles are being addressed comprehensively. Furthermore, it allows for community input and feedback, ensuring that the program remains responsive to their specific needs (Pruit et al., 2018). Thus, the results will have multifaceted significance to society. 

Program’s Theory of Change

This structured framework outlines the expected causal relationships between the program’s inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and ultimate impact on HPRP (see Figure 1). In the outputs, this housing initiative relies on allocating funding and resources by the HUD and City of Joplin government, which serve as the program’s financial backbone (Bryne et al., 2023). Additionally, HPRP draws strength from its human capital, consisting of staff from the City of Joplin and partner organizations with the skills and expertise required to effectively address housing instability. Collaborations with local government agencies and nonprofit organizations further enrich HPRP initiative by leveraging existing networks and resources (Humphries & Canham, 2021). Lastly, housing market analysis provide critical insights into the local housing landscape, enabling HPRP to make data-driven decisions and target interventions effectively (Bryne et al., 2023). These inputs collectively lay the foundation for the program’s theory of change, ensuring that it operates with the necessary tools and support to achieve its goals.

Figure 1: HPRP’s Theory of Change

The activities core to the HPRP’s theory of change are instrumental in achieving its objectives. First, outreach and identification efforts are critical for locating individuals and families at risk of homelessness within the community, a process underscored by literature as essential (Bryne et al., 2023). Once identified, the program engages in the provision of vital financial assistance, encompassing rent payments, utility support, and security deposits, directly addressing the immediate housing crises individuals face (Chamberlain & Johnson, 2018). Simultaneously, HPRP offers comprehensive case management and counseling services, aligning with best practices to tackle the root causes of housing instability (Bryne et al., 2023). Furthermore, it involves close coordination with landlords to secure stable housing options for program participants, fostering collaboration between tenants and property owners. As such, HPRP actively follows its theory of change to promote long-term housing security for families in Joplin.

The outputs of the HPRP constitute measurable and tangible results directly stemming from its activities. These outputs include the number of families served by HPRP, reflecting the reach and scope of the program’s assistance efforts. Additionally, the amount of financial assistance provided signifies the immediate relief offered to prevent homelessness, encompassing rent payments, utility support, and security deposits (Bryne et al., 2023). The number of housing units secured demonstrates the program’s effectiveness in stabilizing housing situations and offering stable living arrangements. Moreover, the utilization of support services reflects the engagement of program participants with critical resources, such as counseling and case management (Parsell et al., 2022). These outputs serve as essential markers of HPRP’s performance, indicating its ability to address housing instability and homelessness in the community (Bryne et al., 2023). As HPRP generates these outputs, it contributes significantly to housing stability for families in Joplin.

The outcomes of the HPRP extend beyond immediate outputs, encompassing long-term changes in the City of Joplin community. These outcomes include increased housing stability for program participants, a crucial marker of success as it directly addresses homelessness prevention (Bryne et al., 2023). Improved financial stability, including employment and income growth, is another key outcome, reflecting the program’s potential to enhance economic well-being (Parsell et al., 2022). Reduced shelter utilization also signifies a tangible reduction in the burden of homelessness within Joplin community (Bryne et al., 2023). Furthermore, HPRP aims to foster enhanced self-sufficiency among program participants, leading to improved overall quality of life. These outcomes collectively reflect the HPRP’s commitment to creating meaningful change, not only for families served but also for the broader community.

The ultimate impact of the HPRP is a reduction in homelessness rates within the City of Joplin. This aligns with the program’s theory of change, as the decrease in homelessness rates signifies progress towards self-sufficiency (Reinholz & Andrews, 2020). Moreover, HPRP’s activities and outcomes translate into cost savings for the community by reducing emergency shelter and crisis response expenses, a critical consideration for local governments and taxpayers (Bryne et al., 2023). Beyond economic implications, the HPRP’s impact is reflected in the long-term housing stability experienced by program participants (Humphries & Canham, 2021). Therefore, HPRP’s theory of change aims to create a lasting and positive impact, not only by addressing homelessness but by fostering a more stable and prosperous future for the City of Joplin. 

Research Design

This implementation evaluation for HPRP will incorporate a mixed-methods approach. This strategy combines both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods within a single survey instrument. According to Stern et al. (2021), it allows researchers to gather a more holistic understanding of a research question by collecting both numerical data and narrative information. This research design aligns with the nature of this project, which aims to assess the effectiveness of the program’s implementation processes and address specific evaluation questions (Palinkas et al., 2019). The survey will be distributed to stakeholders involved in program implementation and will include 15 closed-ended questions to quantify adherence to HPRP policies, communication strategies, and assess the availability of necessary resources. Additionally, open-ended questions will be included to gather qualitative insights, allowing respondents to provide detailed explanations, examples, and suggestions related to any unique challenges related to the program implementation. As such, this framework aims to contribute to the success of the HPRP in addressing homelessness in Joplin.

The approach will seek to test three major hypotheses:

H1: Adhering strictly to program policies and procedures is more likely to enhance the effectiveness of HPRP implementation in reducing homelessness in Joplin.

H2: Effective communication among HPRP stakeholders is more likely to contribute to improved program outcomes

H3: Adequate allocation of resources, including funding, training, and personnel, will significantly correlate with the success of HPRP implementation in Joplin.

Sample, Measures, and Data Collection

The population of study participants for this implementation include individuals from various groups involved in the City of Joplin HPRP. This population encompasses City of Joplin staff members responsible for program coordination, data collection, policy adherence, and training, as well as personnel from partner organizations collaborating with the City. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (n.d.), an estimated 100 personnel will be involved in the program within Joplin, which constitutes the population of this project. Additionally, HPRP officials, such as case managers, housing specialists, counselors, and administrative personnel, are part of the study population (Byrne et al., 2023). These participants represent a diverse range of roles within HPRP implementation, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of the program’s effectiveness. Their perspectives are crucial in understanding policy compliance, resource allocation, communication, and community-specific challenges related to HPRP in Joplin.

This project will incorporate a purposive sampling approach. According to Campbell et al. (2020), it involves is a non-probability technique where researchers deliberately select specific cases to be included based on predefined criteria and their judgment about which participants are most relevant to the research objectives (See criteria in Figure 2). The focus on a purposive sample of 15 participants is justified by the need to obtain in-depth, context-specific information about HPRP implementation in the City of Joplin (Campbell et al., 2020). These participants hold critical positions within the program’s implementation framework and their experiences will be key vital for assessing its effectiveness. Furthermore, the study can concentrate in the aspects of policy adherence, resource availability, and community-specific challenges by focusing on this select group. Thus, the sample size will allow for rich data collection and analysis while ensuring feasibility in terms of time and resources.

Figure 2: Inclusion and exclusion criteria for participant selection

Data for this project will be collected through Qualtrics, an online survey platform. According to Miller et al. (2020), the technique offers efficient data collection, easy management of responses, and is capable to export data for subsequent analysis. Recruiting participants will be achieved through a strategic and multi-faceted approach. Firstly, the researcher will establish collaboration with City of Joplin’s HR department, partner organizations, and HPRP management to gain their support in identifying potential participants and providing contact information. Further, the project will utilize multiple communication channels to reach out to potential participants, including text message, emails, and information on the organization’s intranet. Notably, the researcher will not only ensure that participants complete the survey online at their convenience, but also offer alternatives like paper surveys for those who may face technological barriers. Finally, the project will seek endorsement from organizational leaders, department heads, or supervisors within the City of Joplin and partner organizations. This data collection approach will ensure ample data collection for analysis.

In this evaluation, the project will employ several key variables to assess the implementation of Joplin’s HPRP. These measures, will be derived from survey questions, include housing stability, policy adherence, challenges in policy adherence, policy communication, and resource availability. Housing stability will be measured on a scale from 1 to 5, gauging the immediate impact of HPRP assistance. Policy adherence will assess the extent to which HPRP policies are consistently followed, with responses ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”, while communication strategy will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Resource availability will capture respondents’ perceptions of support provided to program staff, ranging from “Inadequate” to “Very adequate.” Finally, Joplin-specific challenges in policy adherence will collect qualitative data on specific implementation barriers. These measures will provide a comprehensive understanding of program strengths and areas for improvement.


This project will have unique drawbacks. Firstly, the use of a relatively small purposive sample of 15 participants may limit the generalizability of the findings. While this sample allows for in-depth insights, it may not fully represent the diversity of perspectives within the City of Joplin’s staff, partner organizations, and HPRP officials (Ster et al., 2021). As such, the findings may not be applicable to all individuals involved in program implementation and other geographical contexts. Secondly, the data collected relies on self-reporting by participants, which introduces the potential for self-report bias where respondents provide responses they believe are socially desirable (Dang et al., 2020). However, the researcher will mitigate this limitation by encouraging honest responses, although some degree of bias may still exist. Finally, while survey responses are valuable for capturing participant perspectives, they may not provide a complete picture of HPRP implementation. Additional data sources, such as program records and observations, could enhance the depth of the evaluation. However, such data sources may be subject to practical constraints and resource limitations.


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