State Public-health Officials Award $8.2 Million for Addiction Treatment Housing

BOSTON — The Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health (DPH) announced $8.2 million in funding to provide transitional or permanent housing for 1,000 individuals and 147 families in treatment and recovery from substance-abuse disorders.

Thirty-six organizations across the Commonwealth will provide housing stability and support that reduces the risk of relapse, increases independent-living skills, and supports recovery. Specific services will be provided based on an individual’s specific needs but range from clinical intervention and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to meetings and other supports. Those in treatment or who have relapsed would receive support services, including detoxification and MAT, to ensure there is no lapse or loss of housing while in treatment.

Additional services include care coordination and facilitation of access to benefits including health insurance, transportation, supported referrals to employment services, and on-site or community-based life-skills training. Families enrolled in the program will also have access to child-development and parenting-skills workshops.

“When people in early recovery have access to safe and stable supportive housing, the risk of relapse is reduced,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “These funds will provide necessary supportive services for participants at a critical juncture in their treatment and path towards recovery.”

Award recipients in Western Mass. include transitional-housing providers the Brien Center (Pittsfield), GAAMHA Inc. (Gardner, Athol, and Greenfield), Gándara (Springfield), MHA (Springfield), and ServiceNet (Turner Falls); and permanent-housing providers the Brien Center (Pittsfield), GAAMHA Inc. (Gardner), Gándara (Holyoke), and MHA (Hampden County).

“Housing is essential for good health, and addressing housing instability is crucial to enable individuals to access treatment and recovery services for substance-use disorder,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “These programs will assist adults, families, and young people in establishing critical supports for recovery.”

The grant award will continue until 2030 and will be funded through a combination of state appropriations, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supportive service funding.

“As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, housing is an integral component of healthcare and addiction recovery,” said Deirdre Calvert, director of DPH’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. “This program will augment DPH’s addiction outreach and recovery support efforts and build up the base of community-based supports that are necessary for people to maintain their progress in recovery.”