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    Exploring Community Integration Among Formerly Homeless Veterans in Project‑Based Versus Tenant‑Based Supportive Housing

    Community Mental Health Journal

    Year: 2020

    Community integration—an individual’s embeddedness in his/her community—impacts mental and physical health. This study aimed to understand factors affecting community integration among Veterans in the Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with HUD-VASH staff (n=14) and persons residing in project-based (n=9) and tenant-based (n=9) housing at VA Greater Los Angeles. Participants identified neighborhood safety concerns as a limitation to community integration. Participants
    were reluctant to connect with HUD-VASH peers living nearby because they wanted to focus on their own recovery (e.g., from substance use); and many were dissatisfied with the location of their apartments. Staf valued community integration
    but saw it as secondary to housing retention. Increased access to safe neighborhoods (e.g., through relationship building with landlords) and the addition of staff dedicated to improving community integration (e.g., peer-support specialists) would enhance community integration in the HUD-VASH program.

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