New SAMHSA Brief Offers Strategies to Expand Access to and Use of Behavioral Health Services for People Experiencing Homelessness

Date Published: 
February 8th, 2023

A new brief from HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides strategies to engage with and build strong relationships with people experiencing homelessness, offer effective mental health and/or substance use disorder treatments, and improve retention in recovery efforts. It also offers four case studies that highlight strategies for providing treatment and recovery support services to people experiencing both unsheltered and sheltered homelessness.

Of particular interest to PHAs is the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), which aims to build new, positive reinforcers that result in healthier lifestyles. CRA includes components focused on participants’ substance use, social and job skills (e.g., communication, problem-solving), and movement toward recovery. The approach was originally designed to treat alcohol use disorder.

The brief notes the importance of co-locating services in convenient locations near transportation, along with extending hours of operations and lowering barriers required to receive services. Community Health Centers and Continuums of Care are critical partners when implementing strategies such as CRA and other trauma-informed care approaches.


View Brief 

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