Writes Post, “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 38 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness are dependent on alcohol, while 26 percent abuse other drugs, including opioids. With growing recognition of housing as a critical determinant of health and recovery, we must thoughtfully consider what kinds of housing can best help people with addictions optimize their potential for recovery and re-stabilize their lives.”
“Recovery housing” and Housing First are both housing approaches that can help people with substance use disorders (SUDs) end their homelessness.
Post clearly states that each approach has its benefits, and both should be in the portfolio of housing options available to help the SUD population rather than choosing one approach over the other.
In “recovery housing” residents must be alcohol and drug free with available services.
“Many residents of recovery housing attest to their need for this safe and supportive living environment in order to promote their long-term recovery from addiction, their health and wellness, and their ability to stay stably housed.”
Advocates working to end homelessness might be more familiar with the Housing First model in which permanent housing may be offered to households before they are sober or in treatment. “Housing First is based on evidence that stable, lease-based housing plus voluntary acceptance of services can help people make progress on addressing their mental health and addiction disorders.”
“With evidence supporting both approaches to housing for people with SUDs, providers and policymakers must be open to a range of approaches to address the diverse preferences and needs of the individuals they hope to serve.”
Post points to opportunity in potential federal funding for housing for New Jersey and other states and also local communities. “Current legislation in Congress addressing the nation’s opioid crisis has wide bipartisan support and includes several provisions to provide housing-related assistance for people in recovery from SUDs. As the final bill becomes law, states and communities working to combat both addiction and homelessness will become better able to offer housing choice that includes robust recovery housing programs.”