Homelessness and Substance Use

Homelessness and Substance Use 

Research demonstrates a strong correlation between homelessness and substance use disorder (SUD). Some people may become homeless because of an SUD while others may develop a SUD because of their homelessness. Regardless, recovery of SUD can be complicated if a person does not have stable housing.Many people working with vulnerable populations support the Housing First approach. Housing First is an approach that prioritizes the need for housing over assistance for other issues, such as substance use. The approach is based on the premise that meeting basic needs of people, such as housing, sets them up to be successful in addressing other issues that may be contributing to their homelessness or SUD. Studies have shown the efficacy of Housing First for reducing returns to homelessness. It is imperative for healthcare professionals working with this vulnerable population to be able to identify the specific and unique treatment needs of the people they work with, be familiar with common obstacles to treatment and how to overcome them, and know how to implement best practices, including best practices for appropriate, stable housing for people with SUD. This course will provide information on updated definitions of homelessness as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and discuss important considerations for working with individuals experiencing homelessness with SUD. You will also learn about several housing options for people experiencing homelessness and how the Housing First approach is demonstrating success in combating homelessness and leading people into recovery. Finally, you will learn some strategies you can use to help individuals experiencing homelessness with SUD overcome common challenges.


Hours: 1.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (14 Match)

American Psychological Association

1.25 HOURS

Relias, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Relias, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

California Board of Registered Nursing

1.25 HOURS

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, CEP# 13791

Nurses will receive 1.25 contact hours for participating in this course.

District of Columbia Board of Nursing


DC-RN -- District of Columbia Board of Nursing Approved Continuing Education program (CE Provider #50-290).

Nurses will receive 1.20 contact hours for participating in this course.

Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling

1.25 HOURS

Provider #50-290 This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

National Board for Certified Counselors

1.25 HOURS

Relias, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No.6110. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Relias , LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours

Florida Board of Nursing


Florida Board of Nursing CE Provider #: 50-290

Nurses will receive 1.00 contact hours for participating in this course.

American Nurses Credentialing Center

1.25 HOURS

Relias, LLC is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Nurses will receive 1.25 contact hours for participating in this course.

Association of Social Work Boards

1.25 HOURS

Relias, LLC, #1273, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Relias, LLC maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 2/10/2018-2/10/2021. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.

Course Delivery Format: Asynchronous Distance Learning-interaction includes quizzes with questions and answers, posttests. This module is Reading-Based.

Social workers participating in this course will receive 1.25 General continuing education clock hours.

Florida Board of Psychology


Georgia Board of Nursing

1.25 HOURS

Georgia Board of Nursing CE Provider #: 50-290

Nurses will receive 1.25 contact hours for participating in this course.

South Carolina Board of Nursing

1.25 HOURS

This program was approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing Approved Continuing Education Program (CE provider #50-290) CE Broker Course # 20-[Custom_Code]

West Virginia Board of Registered Nursing

1.25 HOURS

New Mexico Board of Nursing

1.25 HOURS

New Mexico Board of Nursing (CEBroker Provider # 50-290)

This course awards 1.25 contact hours upon successful completion.

Arkansas State Board of Nursing

1.25 HOURS

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-0-ADDICTION14
Hours: 1.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 5/31/2022
Learning Objectives:
Define homelessness and the 2 different types of homelessness.
Identify the considerations impacting individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders.
Differentiate between the varying solutions for safe housing for individuals experiencing homelessness with substance use disorders.
Discuss strategies for overcoming challenges experienced by individuals who are homeless and have a substance use disorder.

Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: Overview: Homelessness and Substance Use

Misperceptions About Homelessness and Substance Use

Definitions of Homeless

Types of Homelessness

Homelessness in the United States

Transitional Age Youth and Homelessness

Substance Use Disorders and Homelessness

Substance Use and Homelessness: Cause or Effect?

Substance Use, Homelessness, and Other Considerations



Section 3: Solutions for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Who Are Homeless

The Importance of Housing in Recovery

Finding the Right Housing Option


Recovery Residences

Housing First Approach and Supportive Housing Programs

Types of Supportive Housing

Housing for Homeless Youth with Substance Use Disorders



Section 4: Overcoming Challenges

Safe Housing, Now What?

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Provide Outreach

Respect Their Boundaries

Utilize Peer Supports

Collaborate and Share Information

Encourage Participation in Targeted Programming and Services

Evidence-Based Treatment for Homeless Populations with SUD



Section 5: Conclusion


Course Contributors



Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, M.S.
Mrs. Cobb is a Content Writer for Public Safety and Health and Human Services at Relias. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Mrs. Cobb has 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. She has worked in direct service positions as well as in research, training, and technical assistance capacities. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky managing federal, state, and foundation grants awarded to the College of Medicine, Behavioral Science department, Center for Drug and Alcohol Research, and Kentucky Rural Medical Centers.


Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, M.S. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Cullen Ryan, MA

Mr. Ryan has served as the Executive Director of Community Housing of Maine, the largest housing provider for homeless and special needs populations in Maine, since 2004. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, and a background as a direct service provider for homeless and special needs populations for more than 32 years. Formerly a licensed clinician, Mr. Ryan has provided case management, family therapy, and individual/group psychotherapy to homeless adults, families, and adolescents in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings in three states.

Mr. Ryan has continuously been a leader in local, state, and federal advocacy and policy development. He currently chairs the Board of the Northern New England Housing Investment Fund, the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board, the Maine Coalition for Housing and Quality Services, and was a recent past chair of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. He also serves as Acting Chair of Maine’s Statewide Homeless Council, and President of the Board of Directors for the Maine Continuum of Care.

Disclosure: Cullen Ryan, MA has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Naju Madra, M.A.

Naju Madra, M.A. is an internal subject matter expert and clinical content writer for Relias' Behavioral Healthcare library. She earned her Master's degree in Psychology with specific study in neuropsychological assessment for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She brings with her a wealth of experience in clinical assessment, along with expertise in large-scale clinical research project management, recruitment, training, as well as in-person and web-based curriculum development.

In addition to scholarly activities such as writing manuals and preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals, Ms. Madra has over 15 years of behavioral healthcare experience ranging from crisis counseling and job coaching for individuals with severe mental illness and co-occurring disorders, to community college instruction, and trauma specialist at the Veterans Health Administration. In her current role, Ms. Madra has contributed authorship to over 100 behavioral healthcare course offerings for both licensed and non-licensed professionals in the Health & Human Services market.

Disclosure: Naju Madra, M.A. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry level Psychologists; intermediate level Marriage and Family Therapists; intermediate level Professional Counselors; intermediate level Social Workers; Nurses; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form (https://www.relias.com/help) or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.