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Housing & Supportive Services with Young Mothers Experiencing Homelessness & Substance Abuse

PI, Dr. Natasha Slesnick, OSU College of Education and Human Ecology The Ohio State University –

Housing First/Pathways to Housing is a newer approach to ending homelessness that accepts shelter/housing as a basic right and the first step towards successful interventions of any type. Housing First proposes that: i) individuals be placed into longer term housing as soon as possible, ii) client strengths and choices direct initial supportive services offered, iii) shared accountability for rent, utilities and participation are encouraged, and iv) individualized prevention and treatment interventions for health, mental health and drug use are incorporated. Evidence from randomized trials in the US, Canada and Europe supports the use of Housing First models to improve outcomes for adults with mental disorders and drug use disorders with improvements in patient outcomes, costs, crime, and homelessness. Gaetz and Dej (2017) suggested that, with appropriate modifications, the Housing First model could be even more effective for youths experiencing homelessness who may have less severe cognitive limitations, drug use at an earlier stage, and be more open to early intervention. This study tested a housing first intervention for young mothers (18-24 years) with a substance use disorder. While recruitment has stopped, data is still being collected.


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