We work to help our clients reduce the chaos in their lives, to increase their experiences of feeling valued, and to address mid- and long-term individual goals, emphasizing treatment adherence. Our program builds on three key strategies.
Housing First Model
“Housing first” is crucial to helping our clients regain self-confidence and control over their lives, which is key to helping them access life-saving clinical care services. The “housing first” model prioritizes housing before all other goals so that once people are stably housed they can feel comfortable making choices about other long and short term goals. We help our clients build skills and reduce chaos by assisting them with learning how to pay bills and manage their budgets, which includes the support of a representative payee. Building a tenant/ credit history also improves their eligibility for independent apartments when they are ready to leave our program.
Peer Resident Monitors help our clients build inroads to stability. These paid staff members are themselves living with HIV and/or in recovery, and are directly aligned with the health care and social service systems that clients need. The fact that our staff members are representative of our target population promotes their credibility with our clients and provides shortcuts to communication and role modeling. These skills are necessary for our clients to gain confidence and to move forward with treatment adherence. Our staff provides knowledge, encouragement, and empathy to our clients every day, helping them learn the tools they need to be as successful as our staff has been. When our clients find out that our staff members have shared their experiences of homelessness, addictions, and mental health diagnoses, they understand that their own challenges can be overcome.
Harm Reduction Philosophy
In addition to our “housing first” model of care, we utilize a harm reduction approach. This is conceptualized in four main ways. First, clients are informed that sobriety from drugs and alcohol is not required for inclusion in the housing or representative payee program. Second, clients are given information about how drug use creates additional health risks and are supported in independent decision-making about how they can feasibly achieve their best possible health status. Third, clients who wish to discontinue or reduce drug use are actively helped in these processes. However, recovery is not an expectation that is placed on clients either overtly or covertly. Finally, admittance to the program is prioritized for individuals who are least likely to be served in traditional housing models or who have repeatedly been failed through these models, including those who are active drug users, have criminal histories, and/or have mental health diagnoses.