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Housing help for people in recovery

Odyssey Foundation is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a Health and Housing in Recovery Program Partnership grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation to help individuals in recovery from substance use disorders secure housing.

This $98,000 award will allow Odyssey House to hire a housing specialist to work with individuals preparing to leave residential treatment. The specialist will assess individual’s housing needs and address factors contributing to their housing instability including developing essential life skills (budgeting, maintaining a healthy home); applying for entitlements and rent subsidy programs; securing placement in appropriate housing based on needs; providing case management during transition period; and establishing linkages to recovery services in the community.

The importance of stable housing for people in early recovery from drugs and alcohol is well established. But many New Yorkers leaving residential treatment have limited options for safe housing and the majority who are able to secure housing are severely rent-burdened (defined as spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing).

For single adults and women with children exiting Odyssey House residential treatment programs, the situation is urgent. In 2018, between 28-40 percent of adults admitted into residential treatment were either homeless or housing insecure. Over a quarter of these individuals, after successfully completing treatment, either cycle back to institutional living in a community residence or remain homeless because they cannot find appropriate housing.

Dr. Peter Provet, President and CEO of Odyssey House and Odyssey Foundation, said this grant brings essential resources to a critical stage in the recovery process, the transition from residential treatment to independent community living. “We help people in need overcome drug and alcohol abuse, improve their physical and mental health, and defeat homelessness. Today, faced with life-threatening opioid abuse, services that are proven to save and restore lives are needed more than ever.

“We believe stable housing is an essential foundation for a healthy, independent life and are grateful to Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation for their partnership in helping us level the playing field for our clients as they compete for scarce housing in New York City.  With this grant, our goal of providing every individual we serve with an opportunity to live life with dignity and respect just got a little bit closer.”

“This collaboration illustrates how Empire goes beyond providing access to health care services by supporting innovative programs that help address the barriers to total health, such as homelessness, which have a negative impact on health and quality of life,” said Jack Stephenson, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Medicaid President. “We believe this collaboration will improve the lives of our members by providing the necessary supports and helping the individuals find stable housing consistent with our mission to improve lives and communities.”

In addition, this award will enable Odyssey House to develop a housing support project that is unique among New York State drug treatment organizations and will serve as a pilot for others providers looking to integrate clients transition to independent housing.

For further information, contact:
Isobelle Surface, SVP, Director of Communications


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