Creating Hope Through Employment for People Who are Homeless or in Transitional Housing
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[Excerpt] Persons with significant disabilities, especially those with problems relating to mental illness and/or substance abuse, face numerous challenges in securing employment. The program described in this article, Hope, Vocations, Progress (HVP) of Columbia River Mental Health Services (CRMHS) in Vancouver, WA, represents an aggressive strategy to facilitate the entry into work for persons with significant disabilities of mental illness and/or substance abuse, who also are in need of shelter, transitional housing, and other life supports. HVP was funded under a Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) demonstration grant and includes as its key partners a comprehensive community mental health center, a transitional housing program for women who are exoffenders, and a homeless shelter system. The program design is examined and program results through 39 months of a 60-month cycle are provided. The author examines the impact of the program to date, its strengths and weaknesses in relation to evidence-based practice models of supported employment, and makes recommendations for further areas of research and inquiry.
Ex-offenders; Homelessness; Substance abuse; Supported employment