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Housing First ASAP

September 22, 2017

Earlier this week, CSH facilitated a discussion panel at the 18th Annual Conference of the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State (ASAP). The focus of the dialogue and interaction among participants was "Housing First for Individuals with Active Substance Use."

Members of the panel included:

  • Pascale Leone, Associate Director, CSH (Moderator)
  • Suzanne L. Bissonette, Executive Director, Cazenovia Recovery Systems, Inc.
  • Gregory Fulgham, Housing Program Director, Cazenovia Recovery Systems, Inc.
  • Kelly D. Whitman, Vice President of Substance Use Disorder Services, BestSelf Behavioral Health
  • Tylica S. Pope (Tye) Program Director of Medicaid Redesign Team Permanent Housing and Recovery Connections Opioid Mobile Outreach programs, BestSelf Behavioral Health

Those who engaged with panel experts and other participants walked away with a better understanding of Housing First as well as the evidence-based techniques used to engage individuals with active substance use disorders around vital treatment services. They also learned about housing and health outcomes for those living in supportive housing where the Housing First approach has been embraced, and which metrics should be tracked to help define and gauge success.

Finally, CSH and panelists shared many first-hand experiences they have encountered in their work -- specifically how they overcame the systematic challenges faced in New York when implementing Housing First in supportive housing for individuals struggling through substance use and looking for a viable path toward stability and recovery.

CSH outlined the key principles of Housing First in supportive housing as: being centered on consumer choice; placing emphasis on quick access to housing; offering robust services with assertive engagement; stressing that tenancy is not dependent on participation in services; ensuring units are targeted for the most vulnerable and disabled people; embracing a harm reduction approach, and; providing full leases and tenant protections.

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