To house or not to house: The effects of providing housing to homeless substance abusers in treatment
Objectives. Housing typically is not provided to homeless persons during drug abuse treatment. We examined how treatment outcomes were affected under 3 different housing provision conditions.
Methods. We studied 196 cocaine-dependent participants who received day treatment and no housing (NH), housing contingent on drug abstinence (ACH), or housing not contingent on abstinence (NACH). Drug use was monitored with urine testing.
Results. The ACH group had a higher prevalence of drug abstinence than the NACH group (after control for treatment attendance), which in turn had a higher prevalence than the NH group. All 3 groups showed significant improvement in maintaining employment and housing.
Conclusions. The results of this and previous trials indicate that providing abstinence-contingent housing to homeless substance abusers in treatment is an efficacious, effective, and practical intervention. Programs to provide such housing should be considered in policy initiatives.