Giving Compass' Take:

• Christine Simiriglia explains how Pathways to Housing PA is using a scattered site housing model to successfully fight the opioid epidemic. 

• How can other organizations replicate this program? How do communities need to tweak it to best serve their citizens? 

• Learn more about the housing first model

In late 2016, Pathways to Housing PA launched a pilot program designed to focus on chronically homeless individuals with long-term opioid addiction. Pathways combines a traditional Housing First model with new strategies in street outreach, including needle exchange, Narcan disbursement and training, and immediate access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). These strategies are designed to meet the needs of chronically homeless individuals with opioid use disorders.

In many instances, people who access treatment immediately use drugs again. Housing, combined with wraparound services, breaks that cycle and eliminates many of the barriers to Medication Assisted Treatment.

Pathways’ new program builds on years of experience with a chronically homeless population with serious mental illness and other disabilities. In fact, Pathways is one of the first service providers in the county using a scattered site Housing First model with this population.

  • 100 percent of the participants retained housing throughout the first year.
  • 52 percent of the housed participants received MAT or were abstinent during November 2017.
  • 100 percent of participants received Narcan training, as well as individualized overdose prevention plans.

Read the full article on combating the opioid epidemic by Christine Simiriglia at National Alliance to End Homelessness.