220420 Improbable Mission: Securing stable housing for Baltimore homeless persons with mental illnesses

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chamberlain Diala, PhD , Social Change Evaluation, The Akili Group, Bowie, MD
Dale Meyer, Chief Executive Officer , People Encouraging People, Baltimore, MD
Achike Oranye , People Encouraging People, Baltimore, MD
Introduction: People Encouraging People (PEP) - a 30-year-old non-profit provides behavioral health services in Maryland. Among its services is the homeless/mental health outreach program that provides co-occurring treatment and rehabilitation services to street-based clients and other hard-to-reach populations. The program helps consumers with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders gain stable housing through outreach, case management, integrated treatment and financial support. Method: PEP's team of case assessment specialists canvass city parks and under beltway bridges where homeless individuals and families reside. Consumers are assessed for rehabilitation requirements including alcohol/drug use, mental illness, sexual risk behaviors, criminality, employment/education history, social connectedness, housing and in-home support needs. Result: Literature shows, and PEP data confirm, strong correlation between adult homelessness and mental health /co-occurring disorders. PEP's data show key factors in recovery and stability of homeless adults with co-occurring mental illness. At 12-month follow-up 60% of PEP homeless clients “had a permanent place in the community” compared to 10% at intake, in 2008. PEP street-team report that access to regular care (psychiatric, substance use and somatic) is a critical stabilizer followed by consumer placement in stable housing. A third important factor is social connectedness - linking consumers to social influences that vary by individuals but include family, friends and successful peers who help consumers navigate recovery systems and services. Peers help new clients adjust to homes, participate in therapies and adhere to medication regiments. Meeting emergent needs (food, clothing) and use of incentives (coupons) at counseling sessions encourage consumer's treatment participation and adherence.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the sequences for identifying and providing stable homes to homeless persons with co-occurring mental health disorder. Assess success of stabilizing homeless persons with mental illness through follow-up support services that include regular care, social connections and therapy.

Keywords: Homeless Health Care, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee data consolidation for the population and as senior consultant to the organization that collected the data
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.