‘Closing the front door’ on homelessness

Experts are urging a new focus on prevention to address the plight of millions who are homeless in the U.S. and Europe. A two-pronged approach that helps those who are currently homeless while simultaneously closing the “front door” on homelessness before people find themselves in shelters, or on the streets, is showing success.

In a special issue of Springer’s Journal of Primary Prevention¹ entitled Homelessness and Mental Illness: Perspectives on Prevention, a dozen articles converge on the value of prevention and outline innovative strategies that are working to prevent and end homelessness. The articles speak to the unique needs of specific groups at high risk for homelessness, including veterans, individuals with substance use and mental health conditions and vulnerable families.

The publication results from a unique collaboration between the Journal of Primary Prevention and the federal Center for Mental Health Services’ (CMHS) Homeless Programs Branch, part of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). An electronic version is available for free at www.springerlink.com/content/1573-6547 (Vol. 28, Nos. 3-4, August 2007).

“Each year some two to three million individuals experience a night of homelessness, and approximately 800,000 people are homeless in the United States on any given night,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “By raising awareness about effective homelessness prevention and intervention programs, this special issue can help local organizations make informed decisions about the approaches that will work best in their communities.”

In the issue’s preface, CMHS Director Kathryn Power notes that “business as usual is no longer acceptable and fundamental service and systems change is needed to bring about meaningful outcomes for individuals and communities. We are grateful that Springer has opened access to the articles so that many can benefit from the information.’’

SAMHSA is a public agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment and mental health services delivery systems.

About the Homelessness Resource Center
The Homelessness Resource Center, a SAMHSA sponsored project, is an interactive community of providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers and public agencies sharing state-of-the art knowledge and promising practices to prevent and end homelessness, especially for those with mental health conditions, substance use issues and histories of trauma.

About Springer
Springer is the second-largest publisher of journals in the science, technology, and medicine (STM) sector and the largest publisher of STM books. Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media, one of the world’s leading suppliers of scientific and specialist literature.


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