Implementing contingency management in a supportive housing context to promote resident well-being

Project Type(s):

Mental health and substance use disorders carry complex needs of living that are often poorly-served by our health systems, which result in immense societal costs. This has prompted federal recognition of supportive housing among the vital conditions that support the long-term recovery and resilience of our citizenry. Supportive housing offers safe living environs where residents access services such as harm reduction supplies and referral to recovery-oriented activities like peer support groups and workplace re-entry programs. To maximize the benefit that residents experience from such services, behavioral health staff working in supportive housing contexts should implement useful psychosocial therapies to spur greater service utilization by residents.

One such therapy that has proven useful among persons with mental health and substance use disorders is contingency management (CM), in which one earns tangible rewards for demonstrating desired behaviors like attending a support group, taking a prescribed medication or completing workplace re-entry paperwork. Given the robust and reliable therapeutic impacts of CM, there is much to be gained from its implementation in supportive housing environs. For several years, the project lead Dr. Hartzler and his team at the UW Center for Advancing Addiction Health Services (CAAHS) have provided comprehensive technical assistance to regional treatment settings to facilitate design and successful implementation of sustainable CM programming. Also, UW project collaborators Drs. Fockele and Leyde have built working relationships with Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) while exploring interest in CM among its staff and residents. This convergence of acute community need, an experienced team offering technical assistance and an established academic-community partnership highlights an opportunity in which CM will be implemented in DESC-governed supportive housing facilities to increase resident utilization of beneficial services.      

Project Period:
January 1, 2024 December 31, 2024

Funding Type(s):

Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions

Geographic Area(s):
Seattle/Puget Sound

Practice Type(s):
Community-Based Organizations

Patient Population(s):

Targeted Condition(s):
General Mental Well-Being, Substance use disorders/misuse