HomePath is a program that combines a Housing First approach with shared medical appointments for chronically homeless individuals with substance use disorder. The goals of HomePath are to increase housing stability, improve treatment outcomes, and reduce returns to shelter, emergency room, and justice systems for this population.
Housing First is a person-centered approach to reducing chronic homelessness by first providing permanent supportive housing, regardless of substance dependency or other issues. There are no treatment or sobriety conditions for being placed in or staying in housing. Once housed, people can decide whether and when to access the supportive services and treatment plans that are available to them.
Shared medical appointments combine medical treatment, behavioral health treatment, and social work help. Usually, a group of about 10 to 15 patients and three to five health care and social service providers meet weekly. Each person has time to discuss his or her treatment and progress toward personal goals. Everyone in the group can ask questions and share concerns and experiences with each other. A shared medical appointment can address many needs at once. Patients can get prescription refills, information about transportation or other services, and support for recovery.
With funding from Arnold Ventures, MDRC is conducting an 18-month feasibility study to determine whether to conduct a full-scale rigorous evaluation of HomePath. If the feasibility study shows promise, the full-scale evaluation would begin in 2020.