Housing First University

In 2022, 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 to support local low-barrier housing providers.

In response, we partnered with Pathways to Housing PA’s Housing First University program to train people who work in the fields of housing and harm reduction in Massachusetts. The partnership included an introduction to low-barrier housing session, a six-part, cohort-based harm reduction intensive series, and a training focused on eviction prevention strategies. Attendees explored the benefits of harm reduction practice and walked away with a greater understanding of the harm reduction approach to service provision, and landlord engagement. Most importantly, each training session allowed participants to workshop real life scenarios and engage directly with the trainers who do the work everyday and their local colleagues.

Additionally, we partnered with Housing First University in September 2023 on a two-part training series in Assertive Engagement. This series was designed to equip participants with the necessary tools to engage historically marginalized populations, including BIPOC communities, in care and services across the substance use care continuum including harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and other supportive services.

The training videos are below.

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.

Session Resources:

Basics of Housing First

Housing First model vs. Traditional housing model

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 1

Session 1 Resources: 

Harm Reduction Goals 

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 2

Session 2 Resources: 

Readiness Ruler

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 3

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 4

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 5

Harm Reduction Intensive Training Series – Session 6

Session 6 Resources: 

Case Studies

Session 6 Tools

Assertive Engagement Training 1 – Understanding Structural Barriers to Engagement

Assertive Engagement Training 2 – Tapping into the Therapeutic Alliance