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Centerstone receives $2M federal grant to study homelessness and substance use disorder in Illinois

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. – Centerstone has been awarded a $2 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

The grant will help individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders (SUD) or co-occurring disorders (COD) in Franklin, Jackson, Union and Williamson counties.

“Centerstone is honored to receive this grant and ready to get started,” said John Markley, Regional CEO for Centerstone. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors has identified substance use (68%), lack of affordable housing (60%), and mental illness (48%) as the top three causes of homelessness among single adults. With this grant, we will deliver care that will change the lives of many in Southern Illinois, and improve supports in our communities.”

Centerstone will receive $400,000 per year for five years and will use those funds to develop and/or expand local implementation of a community infrastructure that integrates SUD treatment, housing services, and other critical services for youth, adults and families experiencing homelessness. The program that Centerstone has created with this grant has been named “Centerstone Connections: Connecting with people through home, recovery, and community in Illinois.”

“Of those experiencing homelessness in the grant’s coverage area, 35% have SUD, including an estimated 54% with COD,” said Markley. “This population not only faces barriers to treatment access and availability, but also multiple disparities, including high poverty, lack of affordable housing, and untreated or undertreated SUD and COD.”

Connections will provide outreach and housing navigation using a “housing first” approach that focuses on providing housing as a top priority without precondition or service participation requirements.

“The program area’s average household income is roughly 30% less than the state average,” said Andrea Quigley, Centerstone’s Connections Program Director.  “And nearly 25,000 area households experience cost burden, which means they earn less than Housing and Urban Development’s minimum recommended income for housing expenditures.

“Also, area households are paying a fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment at prices comparable to the rest of the state, despite earning nearly $30,000 less annually,” she said. “Connections will utilize established relationships with housing organizations to provide direct assistance for homeless individuals to obtain permanent housing.”

Connections will also provide:

  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Case management
  • Direct SUD, COD, and trauma treatment
  • Recovery housing
  • Assess to federal income supports
  • Screenings and assessments
  • Individualized and integrated substance use treatment and planning
  • Linkages to primary and specialty care
  • Peer and wraparound recovery supports such as employment and education services; benefits engagement and enrollment; and education and counseling on hepatitis treatment, sexually transmitted infection and HIV screening

A Connections Advisory Council of stakeholders and focus population members will support Connections’ goals, which include providing treatment and recovery support; developing and expanding the infrastructure and capacity of an integrated community service system; improving client health status and outcomes; increasing permanent housing and related support services; and developing and disseminating a replicable service model.

If you are interested in serving on this Connections Advisory Council, please reach out to Quigley at andrea.quigley@centerstone.org.

Through the current COVID-19 crisis, Centerstone remains fully operational and continuing to serve our clients and communities. As always, the health and well-being of our clients, staff and community stakeholders is our main priority. We have implemented system-wide strategies that reduce the risk of exposure while preparing us to respond effectively in the event the current threat level escalates. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at this time, almost all appointments are being conducted via telephone or telehealth (video). For more information, please call 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) or visit centerstoneconnect.org.

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