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Wolf Administration Awards $15 Million in Housing Grants to Help Individuals Battling Opioid Use Disorder

March 27, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Human Services (DHS) have awarded $15 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for a new program to provide case management and housing support services for Pennsylvanians with an opioid use disorder (OUD). The pilot programs will support innovative practices that increase access to support services for individuals with OUD, keep people engaged in treatment and recovery, and help prevent overdose-related deaths.

“With these grant announcements we are taking an important step in removing a barrier to recovery and independence for those suffering from opioid use disorder,” Gov. Wolf said. “As we continue to battle this health crisis, being able to address housing as a means to get people into treatment and on the road to recovery is a key component.”

First announced in October, the program will direct the $15 million through 16 grant agreements that will assist urban and rural counties throughout the commonwealth. The pilot programs will assist individuals as they become and remain engaged in evidence-based treatment programs and will provide individuals with support services such as pre-tenancy and tenancy education services to maintain stable housing.

The counties selected for pilot programs under the request for applications were identified via a formula that equally considered the rate of individuals diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) and rate of overdose-related deaths in a county. The selected grant recipient are:

Awardee Counties Served
Allegheny Department of Human Services Allegheny
Armstrong County Community Action Agency Armstrong
Blair County Community Action Program Blair
Center for Community Resources Butler
Commission on Economic Opportunity Luzerne
Community Counseling Center for Mercer County Mercer
Connect, Inc. Greene, Washington
Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health Delaware
Family Health Council of Central PA Dauphin
Fayette County Community Action Agency Fayette
Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission Mifflin
Lawrence County Drug & Alcohol Commission Lawrence
Lehigh Conference on Churches Lehigh
Northern Tier Community Action Corporation Cameron
Philadelphia Single County Authority Philadelphia
The Wright Center for Community Health Lackawanna, Luzerne

“We know that each individual seeking treatment is just that – an individual,” said DDAP Secretary Jennifer Smith. “They each have different situations and circumstances hindering their recovery. In order to truly combat this crisis, we must build capacity to support individuals by providing necessary, supportive wrap around services like stable housing and case management.”

“The conditions in which a person lives play a substantial role in a person’s health. When a person experiences homelessness in addition to a substance use disorder, the lack of a secure home is often a barrier to staying engaged with treatment and recovery, if they are able to access treatment at all,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “These programs will soon assist people with housing access and stability and will help more people stay engaged in treatment and reach recovery.”

SAMHSA has distinguished four major dimensions that support a life in recovery: Health, Home, Purpose, and Community. This project aims to support two components of the dimensions – Home and Purpose. By giving an individual a stable, safe place to focus on their recovery, paired with the independence and self-worth that housing provides, an individual’s overall health and wellbeing is greatly improved.

Housing instability, combined with unmet basic needs, makes the road to recovery and independence extremely challenging. According to national data, about one in five people experiencing homelessness has a chronic substance use disorder. This aligns with information gathered from Pennsylvania’s 45 state-sponsored OUD Centers of Excellence, a majority of which identify housing as a major barrier for their clients.

The grants are made possible by the $55.9 million SAMHSA grant secured to bolster the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Additional initiatives included in the grant are focused on expanding services to pregnant women and veterans affected by OUD, developing the treatment and recovery workforce, and strengthening criminal justice and law enforcement initiatives with a focus on reentrant supports.

Find more information on the state’s efforts to battle the opioid crisis here.

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