Stable housing is an essential component of recovery. Yet, many individuals with substance use problems face multiple barriers to accessing housing and the supports necessary to engage in the recovery process while living with addiction. People suffering from addiction must have access to a comprehensive array of housing options that includes permanent, affordable, barrier free housing options as well as sober or transitional housing options ensuring the person has choice and access to the supports necessary for them to succeed in their personal recovery. A number of recent shifts in primary care, mental health services, substance use treatment, housing and criminal justice policy and practices have created an opportunity and a framework for bridging long-standing ideological divides, transforming service systems, realigning resources, and improving access to housing and services for this population.
In recognition of these opportunities, CSH and the National Council for Behavioral Health co-hosted the National Substance Use Treatment and Housing Leadership Forum on October 6 and 7, a convening that brought together 45 experts across the fields of substance use treatment, mental health, criminal justice, supportive housing and recovery housing to fuel new thinking and innovation around integrated approaches for housing and serving individuals experiencing homelessness and affected by substance use disorders. Participants included key federal partners from SAMHSA, the US Deptartment of Housing and Urban Development, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
During the convening, participants worked to identify current areas of consensus and disagreement across treatment systems, the recovery community and homeless service systems and how these sectors could work together to expand and improve access to housing and services for individuals with substance use disorders. Participants shared current best practices in the field, identified key barriers to effective cross-system collaboration and strategized on how to address these challenges and work toward building recovery-oriented systems of care that maximize access and choice.