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Effects of sustained abstinence among treated substance-abusing homeless persons on housing and employment.

Milby JB, Schumacher JE, Wallace D, Vuchinich R, Mennemeyer ST, Kertesz SG. Effects of sustained abstinence among treated substance-abusing homeless persons on housing and employment. American journal of public health. 2010 May 1; 100(5):913-8.

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OBJECTIVES: We examined whether cocaine-dependent homeless persons had stable housing and were employed 6, 12, and 18 months after they entered a randomized controlled trial comparing 2 treatments. METHODS: One group (n = 103) received abstinence-contingent housing, vocational training, and work; another group (n = 103) received the same intervention plus cognitive behavioral day treatment. We examined baseline and early treatment variables for association with long-term housing and employment. RESULTS: Although the enhanced-treatment group achieved better abstinence rates, the groups did not differ in long-term housing and employment stability. However, consecutive weeks of abstinence during treatment (and to a lesser extent, older age and male gender) predicted long-term housing and employment stability after adjustment for baseline differences in employment, housing, and treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed a relationship of abstinence with housing stability. Contrasting these results with the increasingly popular Housing First interventions reveals important gaps in our knowledge to be addressed in future research.

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