Proving Effectiveness in Ending Homelessness

The Value of Using Evidence-Based Practices
in Homeless Services

Turning Knowledge into Practice:  Manual for Behavioral Health Administrators and Practitioners About Understanding and Implementing Evidence-Based PracticesOn August 24, 2011, the Homeless Resource Center aired a live webcast, “The Value of Using Evidence-Based Practices in Homeless Services.” Steve Day and John Morris of the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. (TAC) gave an overview of important issues in serving individuals experiencing homelessness using science-driven approaches, known as “evidence-based practices” (EBPs).

Day and Morris discussed appropriateness of EBPs for people who are homeless – especially those with mental health and/or substance use issues. Morris explained that the driving force is what is happening at the federal level that directs policy or homeless services or services to other vulnerable populations, specifically people with mental health and substance abuse conditions and other potentially disabling conditions.

Click here to read the full transcript.

Click here to listen to the entire webcast.

And here to read the full bios of the presenters.

Within SAMHSA, there is emphasis on data reporting and program evaluation. There are new requirements in terms of reporting out data – specifically, what is actually working to change the lives of those experiencing homelessness. And EBPs can help us effectively show how we are making a difference. The discussion was placed in the context of quality of care and the need for accountability in service delivery to vulnerable individuals. In these tighter economic times, quality data will help service providers to make their case for funding with potential funders. Day gave the following examples of EBPs (also referred to as evidence based services) that were offered through a practical, hands-on approach:

  1. Housing First
  2. Other models of permanent housing
  3. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT Teams)
  4. Motivational Interviewing

Morris discussed motivational thinking – for example, thinking about what to do differently when you are not getting the desired results? It is critical for providers to become comfortable collecting and using data.

Lastly, TAC has a resource on its website, “Turning Knowledge into Practice: Manual for Behavioral Health Administrators and Practitioners About Understanding and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices” that was offered as an additional resource. Click here to access the manual.