BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Nearly six thousand Hoosiers are homeless on any given night in Indiana. Centerstone has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to establish a wide-ranging assistance program that is bringing together community partners to help those struggling with homelessness get the support they need to improve their health and secure permanent housing and employment.
The three-year program targets veterans and others in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Fayette, Johnson, Monroe, Morgan, Rush, Shelby and Wayne counties who experience homelessness or chronic homelessness and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
The comprehensive initiative employs an integrated care model that not only assists people in securing and sustaining permanent housing, but also provides much-needed access to quality healthcare, employment, mental health and substance use treatment and recovery, and other wraparound services proven effective in reducing homelessness.
“Through this program, Centerstone will be able to give many of our most vulnerable Hoosiers the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Suzanne Koesel, CEO of Centerstone’s Indiana operations. “This initiative doesn’t just find places for people to live, it addresses the root causes contributing to their homelessness and provides real solutions that enable them to lead healthier and more productive lives.”
Other services provided by the program led by Brian Meyer, MSW, LSW, include life coaching, health insurance enrollment assistance, transportation, tele-health services, virtual recovery-engagement center access, peer recovery support, independent living skills services, peer social support groups, primary care referrals employment and pro-social activities introduction.
The program’s initial steering committee membership includes the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction, Indiana Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, Wayne County Veteran’s Affairs Office, Bloomington Housing Authority, Columbus Housing Authority, Monroe County Health Department, Backstreet Mission, Inc., Shalom Community Center, Amethyst House, Columbus Community Development Department, WorkOne Alliance for Strategic Growth, Johnson County Alcohol and Drug Court, and Monroe County Circuit Court.
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the program to ensure it meets targets for enrollment, retention and client placement in permanent housing. The evaluation aims to make meaningful use of the knowledge generated from the implementation of this program to inform best practices for homelessness reduction both at Centerstone and in the wider public health community. CRI’s evaluation team is led by Dr. John Putz and works closely with faculty from the Indiana University School of Public Health – Bloomington.