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Supportive Housing as a Foundation for Recovery: Homelessness, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Housing Laura Gillis, RN, MS HRC Project Director

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Supportive Housing as a Foundation for Recovery: Homelessness, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Housing Laura Gillis, RN, MS HRC Project Director. HRC: Homelessness Resource Center.

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Supportive Housing as a Foundation for Recovery: Homelessness, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Housing

Laura Gillis, RN, MS

HRC Project Director

hrc homelessness resource center
HRC: Homelessness Resource Center
  • Seeks to improve the daily lives of people affected by homelessness and who have mental health and substance use disorders and trauma histories.  We seek to achieve this mission by: 
    • Increasing awareness, knowledge of resources, and capacity to help people experiencing homelessness
    • Integrating and transforming homelessness service systems
    • Supporting the implementation of the 10-Year Plans to end homelessness
    • Supporting the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)
    • Facilitating communication and collaboration among providers, researchers, policy makers, and consumers
hrc homelessness resource center1
HRC: Homelessness Resource Center
  • Our work includes:
    • Training and technical assistance
    • Publications
    • On-line learning opportunities
    • Networking
    • www.homeless.samhsa.gov
hrc homelessness resource center2
HRC: Homelessness Resource Center
  • Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Operated by the Institute on Homelessness and Trauma
    • Organization of clinicians, social scientists, policy analysts, consumers and educators dedicated to using knowledge to improve the lives of vulnerable populations. 
    • Our mission is to bring theory onto the streets by applying knowledge of best practices to real world settings.
family permanent supportive housing
Family Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Reviewed characteristics of 13 FPSH programs - quantitative and qualitative data
  • Profiles of program participants
  • Progress over time on three outcomes
    • Housing stability
    • Family reunification
    • Self support

Corporation for Supportive Housing (2006). Family Permanent Supportive Housing: preliminary research on family characteristics, program models, and outcomes.

family permanent supportive housing findings
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Findings
  • Characteristics of families varied substantially when compared to families in emergency shelters and transitional housing
    • Mothers are older, better educated, have a longer and more complex history of homelessness, and may have “special needs” such as mental health and substance use issues
    • Subgroup of homeless families with more intense needs – characteristics of chronically homeless
family permanent supportive housing findings1
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Findings
  • Programs had many similarities but some significant differences
    • All offered case management services
    • Majority offered on-site service options
    • Services were not family focused
    • Intensity of services was limited, e.g. one service contact per week
family permanent supportive housing findings2
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Findings
  • Differences in outcomes appear to be related to the control the programs exerted over residents and participants’ difficulties engaging in critical services.
    • High demand programs more successful at family reunification and increasing employment rates and income
    • Low demand programs more successful in retaining families in housing
family permanent supportive housing findings3
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Findings
  • The relationship between a client and staff member can become the decisive factor in re-setting the direction of a client’s life.
    • Provides the leverage necessary to empower clients to access services
    • May eliminate necessity of creating stringent rules for program participation
    • Trusting relationships take time
    • Developing a sustaining relationship rarely occurs in a linear fashion
family permanent supportive housing recommendations
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Recommendations
  • Focus on active outreach and engagement
  • Gather information about exposure to traumatic stress and add trauma informed services to all programs.
  • Reconsider the brokered model of case management
  • Account for the needs of the children and

their impact on the family.

family permanent supportive housing recommendations1
Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Recommendations
  • Further research should focus on
    • examining the key ingredients and processes by which FPSH helps (or fails to help) families achieve residential stability, self-sufficiency, and family reunification,
    • developing a typology of the homeless families population (including homeless children) to better understand differential housing and service needs
    • determining which families do best in which FPSH programs and then comparing the outcomes of FPSH to other housing models
limitations of study
Limitations of Study
  • Available data were collected by three distinct research efforts
    • one of which includes five separate studies
    • one a single study of seven different programs
    • one a single study of which the family programs were only one part.
    • each data set has a unique study design employing different data collection and sampling strategies that limit the ability to compare data across programs and to draw conclusions from these comparisons.
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