The Covid 19 pandemic had a serious impact on the social situation in Austria. Social areas such as the social infrastructure and the labour market were affected in their entirety, which also affected private individuals in many ways. Thus, the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic could be observed, for example, on the income situation of private households, which also determines the individual risk of poverty and exclusion. This is where the "Wohnschirm" (in English "housing umbrella") programme comes in and focuses on support in the form of delocation prevention and housing security. Additional funds totalling 24 million euros will be made available for this purpose in the period 2021 to 2023. Eligible services under the programme are rent arrears or costs incurred in connection with moving into affordable housing.
The NPO Competence Center was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs to conduct an external evaluation of the measures belonging to the "Wohnschirm" programme to combat the threat of eviction and loss of housing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the study pursues the following three main objectives:
Objective 1: To take stock of the current needs caused by Covid-19 as well as the actual take-up of measures of delogation prevention and housing security.
Objective 2: Evaluation of results with a focus on the identification, measurement and presentation of the effects of Covid-19-related delogation prevention and housing security measures in the context of the "Wohnschirm" programme.
Objective 3: Structural and process evaluation focusing on the implementation of the "Wohnschirm" programme taking into account the interplay with other support measures of delogation prevention and housing security.
The present study is set up as an impact analysis. Accordingly, the study is based on a hypothetical impact model of the "Wohnschirm" programme, which will be empirically verified in the course of the evaluation. Various qualitative and quantitative methods as well as secondary material research and analysis are used for the review. The qualitative approach provides for semi-structured guided interviews with selected representatives of key stakeholder groups of the "Wohnschirm" programme. The interviews will be divided over the duration of the programme in order to be able to observe changes in the implementation of the programme and the resulting effects. In addition, a quantitative primary survey of the clients of the "Wohnschirm" programme will be conducted. This will be set up as a panel survey, which means that the persons supported will be interviewed at the beginning of their participation in the programme and then again after about six months. This approach allows for a before-and-after comparison and thus to track the effects of the "Wohnschirm" programme over time. Based on the findings of the outcome evaluation as well as the structural and process evaluation, recommendations for action will be formulated in order to improve and further develop the future overall offer of delogation prevention and housing security at the federal and provincial level with regard to their implementation and effectiveness.
The study started in summer 2022 and is expected to be completed in October 2024.