Evaluating a supportive housing and alcohol treatment project for chronically homeless, alcohol-dependent individuals

The Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program was designed to provide support for investigators to conduct policy research on a variety of subjects directed at helping the country reduce the harm caused by substance abuse.Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center, with substantial support from local government and elected officials and despite intense criticism from the public and numerous media outlets, has begun construction on the first supportive housing project in Seattle dedicated to chronic public inebriates (CPIs). The project will provide housing and on-site supportive services for 75 individuals without requiring abstinence from alcohol or participation in a treatment program. Working in collaboration with the University of Washington, this study will evaluate the effectiveness of the housing project's three major objectives. First, to demonstrate the effectiveness of pre-recovery housing on the following: CPI healthcare utilization, legal interactions and associated costs; alcohol use and associated problems; and motivation to engage in treatment. Second, to examine how motivation toward treatment and public service utilization change both over time and as a function of receipt of pre-recovery housing. Third, to test the mediating effects of substance use and psychiatric symptoms on service utilization, and of social support on motivation to treatment. Based on prior research and the harm reduction model, it is hypothesized that this research will demonstrate improved individual outcomes by housed CPIs (mediated by co-morbid psychopathology, substance use, and strength of social relationships), as well as reduced aggregate costs to community taxpayers. Success stories emerging from this residential community will be documented and disseminated to personalize and humanize CPIs, as well as to challenge negative, pervasive, and chronic stereotypes.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $400,000.00

Awarded on: 6/17/2005

Time frame: 7/15/2005 - 2/28/2009

Grant Number: 53672


University of Washington School of Medicine

325 9th Avenue
Seattle, 98104-2420


Mary E. Larimer
Project Director