Providing Treatment for Homeless People With Substance Use Disorders: Case Studies of Six Programs

Clinicians working with homeless individuals who have substance use disorders understand the critical need – and dire lack of – appropriate, accessible, and effective treatment for those in their care. And, much of the scientific research on what effective treatment for substance related disorders looks like is not directly applicable to persons without homes. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council convened interested clinicians and researchers as members of the “Translating Research Into Practice” (TRIP) Subcommittee to discuss this situation. First, they explored the published scientific research in a literature review prepared for the Subcommittee by staff member Suzanne Zerger entitled “Substance Abuse Treatment: What Works for Homeless People?”1 They found that the research did not sufficiently inform what they considered to be most relevant in their work with homeless clients, such as the importance of providing well-integrated, client-centered services with uniquely-qualified staff. In response to these gaps, the group then decided to glean knowledge from those providing “model” treatment to homeless people with substance related disorders, to share with others what seems to work well in practice, and for whom, according to those currently working in the field. This report summarizes the results of these efforts. (Authors)

Publication Date: 
Nashville, TN, USA