Housing First University

In the last year, RIZE hosted a series of virtual convenings focused on low threshold housing and harm reduction. The feedback was extremely positive and RIZE received multiple requests for more in depth training focused on supporting local low-barrier housing providers.

In response, we are partnering with Pathways to Housing PA on a Housing First University to provide training opportunities for people who work in the fields of housing and harm reduction in Massachusetts. The series will include an introductory session and a six-part, cohort-based learning community that will outline best practices in a variety of domains. Attendees will explore the benefits of harm reduction practice and walk away with a greater understanding of the harm reduction approach to service provision. Most importantly, each training session will allow participants to workshop real life scenarios and engage directly with the trainers and colleagues.

The introductory video is below, and the remaining videos will be made available over the course of the six-week cohort sessions, starting the week of October 3rd through the week of November 7th.

Introduction to Low-Barrier Housing

Low-barrier housing models have been in use in the United States since the late 1980’s, yet many still regard them as a radical and high-risk interventions. Common misconceptions of low-barrier housing as an “anything goes” approach have prevented more widespread adoption of proven successful innovations in addressing homelessness for those with psychiatric disabilities and substance use disorders. During the Intro to Low Barrier Housing session attendees learned about the philosophy and guiding principles behind low-barrier housing and compared success rates against those in traditional linear-residential treatment models. Attendees explored both the benefits and challenges of working with a low-barrier approach and discussed the vital role of harm reduction in providing low-barrier services.