Almost 10 years ago, state researchers conducted a study looking at how many people in Washington state became homeless after leaving inpatient treatment for a mental health issue or substance use disorder.
The results were shocking. Nearly half the people discharged from a drug or alcohol treatment facility in 2010 were homeless or didn’t have stable housing within a year. For the people discharged from state psychiatric hospitals, it was 30%.
In the midst of an ever-growing homelessness crisis a decade later, there’s little to suggest that those gaps have much improved. But now, state officials are embarking on a project to better connect people leaving treatment with the limited housing options that await them outside.
Zoning restrictions also limited housing options, Dalton said, particularly for people on the sex offender registry.
A discharge planning toolkit, according to officials from the Washington State Health Care Authority, would be a way to both present a list of resources to people leaving behavioral health care facilities and train housing and homeless service providers on how to receive them.