Baltimore has a serious homelessness problem. Increasingly, women and children make up the over 3,000 homeless city residents. As the city prepares its ten-year plan to reduce homelessness, Baltimore Homeless Services, Inc. will identify successful approaches to this issue. One of those approaches, Housing First, not only provides housing but also offers housing assistance and case management to enable individuals to address other problems, such as mental illness or drug addiction, that compromise their health and ability to gain economic and social stability.
On June 30, OSI Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, and Baltimore Homeless Services, Inc. presented a forum to discuss Housing First.
Dr. Sam Tsemberis, an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and founder and director of Pathways to Housing, discussed the successes and challenges of his program, which is based on the Housing First model. Tsemberis described how the program uses intensive, individualized strategies to reach out to and maintain long-term contact with its residents suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. The forum provided an opportunity to discuss the implementation and success of the Housing First model and its potential application in Baltimore.