DAS awarded $1.7 million to two agencies to develop supportive housing services for 62 people with substance abuse problems who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and $500,000 to create 10 new beds for intravenous drug users needing enhanced, medically managed detoxification.
The contracts are a component of DAS' Needle Exchange Treatment Initiative, which is funded through a $10 million appropriation from the Bloodborne Disease Harm Reduction Act of 2006. The treatment initiative also includes mobile medication units, outreach, office-based treatment services, case management and a voucher program.
The $10 million appropriation also funded nearly $5 million in contracts for mobile medication units to operate in, Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton and Paterson. Paterson is currently launching its mobile medication program, which will operate near the local needle exchange. Similar mobile medication programs will soon be launched near exchanges in Atlantic City and Camden, and also in Trenton, which is not participating in the syringe exchange program.
Separate annual contracts of $871,000, which are renewable for four years, were awarded to John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic City and Resources for Human Development in Philadelphia, which will have a satellite office in Camden. Each agency will assist 31 individuals in a pilot program to provide links to services and supports that can assist in their recovery and help them maintain a home. The individuals will be referred from mobile medication units operating in the cities of Trenton, Paterson, Camden and Atlantic City.
“People with substance abuse problems are far more likely to respond to treatment and recover if they are living in a stable environment,” said Commissioner Velez. “These contracts will allow us to help individuals find and maintain a home and focus on their own recovery with the assurance they will always have a roof over their heads.”
The agencies will use the funding to create teams of professionals who will develop supportive relationships with their clients and be available to assist them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The goal is to be flexible and responsive to an individual's specific needs.
The teams will help people find, lease, and - where appropriate - furnish an apartment. Rental subsidies are also available. The teams will also work with individuals to encourage them to seek substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, to adhere to their medication regimens and to seek vocational education, employment counseling or any other community service such as transportation, child care and referrals for medical services and psychological evaluations.
This pilot program is based on a growing body of research demonstrating that stable housing is a cornerstone to addiction recovery. This research has shown that people suffering from chronic diseases like addiction achieve better outcomes when they have secure housing and receive support services.
Additionally, a $249,395 start-up contract to develop six beds for enhanced medically managed sub-acute residential detoxification services was awarded to Straight and Narrow in Paterson, and $250,605 for the development of four beds was awarded to Turning Point in Verona to deliver this highly specialized service.
This service is meant to enhance the available, on-demand services for clients accessing the mobile medication units. Operational funding for this service, separate from these start-up contracts, will be made available through a voucher initiative. The voucher will be awarded directly to the client for use at the site of his or her choice.