SAMHSA: Housing and Social Inclusion

SAMHSA ADS Center
Housing and Social Inclusion

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Safe and stable housing is an essential part of the foundation for personal recovery and a high-quality, satisfying, self-directed life in the community. Safe, decent, affordable housing provides not only a sense of stability, security, independence, and pride, but also the opportunity to become part of a community and develop relationships that we all depend on to see us through difficult times, share our joys, and provide the opportunity not only to receive but to give of ourselves.

For people with mental health and substance use problems to recover and rebuild their lives, they need access not only to services and supports for their conditions, but most importantly to those social, economic, educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities, as well as physical health services, that most citizens take for granted. This is what we mean when we talk about social inclusion. A socially inclusive nation provides needed opportunities for individuals in recovery from mental health problems, substance use disorders, and trauma histories to contribute to their communities aspeers, employees, parents, residents, students, volunteers, teachers, and active citizens.

People with lived experience of mental health problems, substance use disorders, and trauma have talents and abilities to contribute to make communities richer. In this e-resource update, we offer resources that demonstrate the importance of housing and community connection, both for people with lived experience and for their communities. The following resources and programs are a few of the many housing-related resources found on the SAMHSA ADS Center Web site, http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov.

  • Read how Main Street Housing, Inc., a statewide nonprofit housing organization in Maryland, works to establish safe, affordable, and independent rental housing for individuals with behavioral health problems, operating on the principle of "Supportive Accountability," which promotes autonomy and responsibility for its tenants. To read more about this organization and others, visit the Housing: Resource Organizations section of our Web site at http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/topic/housing/organizations.aspx.
  • Listen to teleconference presenter and social inclusion expert Dr. Jody Kretzmann discuss the importance of using a strengths-based approach to problem solving—whether it is an individual problem or a community-wide problem. In our June 2011 teleconference Forging a Path Toward Social Inclusion: Collaboration Among Individuals‚ Community Partners‚ and Public Systems, Dr. Kretzmann shares with listeners the amazing and inspiring results that came about when a Cincinnati soup kitchen began asking people about their gifts and skills, rather than focusing on their difficulties. These results included the formation of a choir and a jazz quintet to entertain people while they ate, and the establishment of a carpentry co-op that rehabbed abandoned community buildings. To view this teleconference, visit http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/teleconferences/archive/training/teleconference06232011.aspx.
  • Listen to our February 2011 teleconference Housing, Homelessness, and Social Inclusion: Essential Elements of Healthy Communities to learn about the importance of social connectedness and social capital, together with safe and secure housing, in helping people in recovery to move ahead in their recovery journey and become fully participating members of their communities. Teleconference presenter and homelessness expert Livia Davis helps us understand these important concepts and shares examples of successful housing programs that help people who have been homeless successfully reenter their communities. To view this teleconference, visit http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/teleconferences/archive/training/teleconference02232011.aspx.
  • Learn about community best practices, model housing programs, research articles, toolkits, and an inspiring recovery story. All this and more can be found in the August 2011 archived issue of the ADS Center’s Information Update “Promising Practices for Social Inclusion: Housing and Community Supports Foster Successful Reintegration.” To view this online newsletter, visit http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/update/archive/august2011.aspx.

Learn more at our Web site, http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov, about the key role that housing and being part of a community play in the recovery process; what communities can do to support people with mental health problems, substance use disorders, and trauma histories; and how communities can benefit from the active participation of people with lived experience in community life. You can also access a wide range of other topics and resources.

We hope our e-resource update will spark your interest, not only in the role of housing in recovery and social inclusion efforts, but also in the wide range of educational materials and resources available through the ADS Center and its Web site. To share your story about the role housing and community connection have played in your recovery, obstacles faced and how these were overcome, and where you are in recovery now, please visit the My Story section of our Web site, http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/publications/mystory.

We invite you to share this update with others who may be interested and to encourage them to join the ADS Center listserv by visiting http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/main/listserve.aspx.