SOWK 562 – Summer 2014
Assignment #3: Intervention Literature Review
July 20, 2014
Dr. Hsin-Yi Hsiao
There are two distinct service models for persons experiencing homelessness that also have issues with mental illness and/or addictions, the treatment first model or the Housing First model. Housing First models utilize a supported housing approach in which consumers start with permanent, independent apartments and providers work with consumers regardless of their symptoms, substance abuse, or whether they participate in formal treatment (Henwood, 2011). The housing is the treatment or intervention and the treatment is offered as long as the client needs the support. Although the housing first program posits housing as the treatment, additional services and treatments will often be available within the housing setting. Across the country, teams of providers that include social workers are utilizing housing first programs. These teams provide intensive case management, using an Assertive Community Treatment model to treat participants (Housing, 2012). These services are designed to help participants maintain their housing while improving their health and mental health status and reducing substance abuse. Theory of Change
Communities across the country have developed, implemented, and refined a wide range of program models and strategies to address chronic homelessness (Caton, 2007). Some models have been rigorously evaluated and others have been evaluated using less sophisticated methodologies. Some interventions have been implemented widely but little research exists to measure their effectiveness (Canton, 2007). New services for this population developed over the past decade include adaptations or modifications of established evidence-based interventions that were initially designed and tested for stably housed people with serious mental illness while other program innovations have shown promise based on non-experimental evaluations and have yet to be tested experimentally (Caton, 2007). The many theories surrounding this topic that do exist are beyond the scope of this paper and are centered on qualitative research methods and design. Grounded theory is one, and it is often used because it allows you to seek out and conceptualize the latent social patterns and structures of your area of interest through the process of constant comparison (What is Grounded Theory, 2013). Grounded Theory is a general research method, which guides you on matters of date collection, where you can use quantitative data or qualitative data of any type and which details strict procedures for data analysis. It is first and foremost a research method (What is Grounded Theory, 2013). This is especially useful for social justice issues, but when it comes to theory as it is applied to national and community level homeless policies; none as of yet accomplish this. Theoretical explanations of homelessness and policy can be narrowed down to a few modes of thought. According to the first, individuals are considered responsible for their homelessness and, hence, guilty and blameworthy. Many who question the validity of housing first programs contend that participants must be deemed worthy of such a treatment by showing that they can successfully navigate an independent living environment (Neale, 1997). The typical stereotypes like the alcoholic on the corner have often been associated with people judged to be homeless for these reasons. The response usually recommended for this form of homelessness is minimalist and involves only the provision of basic accommodation (Neale, 1997). The second frame of thought maintains that people become homeless because of personal failure for which they cannot be held entirely responsible. These individuals are considered to be more in need of humanitarian assistance (Neale, 1997). Two other commonly used themes used in theorizing homelessness have related to the concepts...