Northeast States Convening on Chronic Homelessness, Opioid Abuse, and Supportive Housing

The Corporation for Supportive Housing and The Boston Foundation hosted a convening of stakeholders from northeast states on July 19 in a presentation which made clear the links between chronic homelessness and opioid abuse, as well as promoting a key response/intervention: permanent supportive housing.

Presenters shared this startling statistic:

Homeless adults between the ages of 25 and 44 in New England are nine times more likely to die from an overdose than those with stable housing.

Take-aways from the convening included:

  • To make headway on responding to substance abuse, we must treat it as a medical issue, not a moral failing, and our responses must be data-driven and evidence-based.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based modality for opiate addiction, and must be one of the tools we use for successful treatment.
  • Peers/sober coaches are valuable to promote and support recovery.
  • Permanent, safe, and affordable housing is a part of treatment.
  • There is no magic to residential treatment in itself, so it is important to consider the need for affordable and safe housing plus effective treatment (including intensive outpatient programs) as one way to expand availability of treatment.

For more information, see the Boston Globe’s coverage of the convening: Housing is seen as the missing link in the opioid crisis.

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