This Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) is for you, the behavioral health service provider or program administrator who wants to work more effectively with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who need, or are currently in, substance abuse or mental health treatment. The TIP addresses treatment and prevention issues. Some aspects of the TIP will be of primary interest to counselors across settings, whereas others will be of primary interest to prevention professionals or providers in primary care settings. However, the approach advocated by the TIP is integrated and is aimed at providing services to the whole person to improve quality of life in all relevant domains.
The information in this TIP can be useful to you if you wish to:
- Recognize and address homelessness as a special dynamic that affects your clients.
- Help prevent potential crises that result from becoming homeless.
- Provide preventive services for individuals and families who are homeless, especially as they relate to emergent substance abuse or mental disorders.
- Be more aware of the effects of psychological trauma and co-occurring disorders (CODs) among people who are homeless.
- Provide integrated, more effective services to people who are homeless.
- Understand and know how to utilize resources for homelessness (e.g., permanent supportive housing [PSH]) in your community.
- Understand the significance of cultural competence in your work with people who are homeless and experience substance use and mental disorders.
- Influence the understanding of others in your community regarding the interrelationship of homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness.
Behavioral health service providers work today in a variety of settings: publicly funded treatment programs, primary care organizations, hospitals, criminal justice settings, private practice, the military, schools, the community, and programs specifically for people who are homeless. You will find the information in this TIP useful regardless of the setting in which you work. Although some content may be more relevant to your work than other content, it is important to have an overall view of how homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness interact to hinder recovery and rehabilitation; how to form a conceptual model to address homelessness in your work; and how to access services available in your community.