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    Managing High-risk Behaviours and Challenges to Prevent Housing Loss in Permanent Supportive Housing: A Rapid Review

    Harm Reduction Journal

    Year: 2023

    Permanent supportive housing is an efective intervention for stably housing most people experiencing home-lessness and mental illness who have complex support needs. However, high-risk behaviours and challenges are prevalent among this population and have the potential to seriously harm health and threaten housing tenures. Yet, the research on the relationship between high-risk issues and housing stability in permanent supportive housing has not been previously synthesized. This rapid review aimed to identify the housing-related outcomes of high-risk behaviours and challenges in permanent supportive housing settings, as well as the approaches used by agencies and residents to address them. A range of high-risk behaviours and challenges were examined, including risks to self (overdose, suicide/suicide attempts, non-suicidal self-injury, falls/fall-related injuries), and risks to multiple parties and/or building (fire-setting/arson, hoarding, apartment takeovers, physical/sexual violence, property damage, drug selling, sex trafficking). The search strategy included four components to identify relevant academic and grey literature: (1) searches of MEDLINE, APA PsycINFO, and CINAHL Plus; (2) hand searches of three journals with aims specific to housing and homelessness; (3) website browsing/searching of seven homelessness, supportive housing, and mental health agencies and networks; and (4) Advanced Google searches. A total of 32 articles were eligible and included in the review. Six studies examined the impacts of high-risk behaviours and challenges on housing tenancies, with overdose being identifed as a notable cause of death. Twenty-six studies examined approaches and barriers to managing high-risk behaviours and challenges in PSH programs. These were categorized into eight types of approaches: (1) clinical, (2) relational/educational, (3) surveillant, (4) restrictive, (5) strategic, (6) design-based, (7) legal, and (8) self-defence. Consistent across all approaches was a lack of rigorous examination of their effectiveness. Further, some approaches that are legal, restrictive, surveillant, or strategic in nature may be used to promote safety, but may conflict with other program objectives, including housing stability, or resident empowerment and choice. Research priorities were identified to address the key evidence gaps and move toward best practices for preventing and managing high-risk behaviours and challenges in permanent supportive housing.

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