"Every year, DESC moves hundreds of men and women who are disabled by serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders off the streets and into supportive housing using a Housing First approach. Their supportive housing programs – totaling more than 1,200 units across Seattle -- have been studied by researchers for more than a decade. Those studies show that participants have high housing retention rates, are much less likely to use emergency services or be sent to jail, and have improved health.
To understand more about how DESC successfully houses people with opioid use disorders through Housing First, we spoke with Daniel Malone, DESC’s Executive Director. That conversation is summarized here.
Daniel: DESC offers a spectrum of housing and services for individuals experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Approximately half of our 3,600 daily program participants have exited homelessness and are living in DESC’s permanent supportive housing and/or receiving ongoing behavioral healthcare from DESC. The other half are currently homeless and receiving help from DESC through survival services like shelters and day programs, or a range of behavioral health services, including outpatient treatment, street outreach, and crisis stabilization. Overall, the typical person served is highly vulnerable, multiply-disabled, and has spent many years on the streets."
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