HPRI Symposium: Substance Use Disorder & Homelessness

Substance Use Disorders are prevalent among 52% of adults experiencing chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County.¹ In the broader media, we rarely hear the clear evidence about how homelessness and substance use disorders intersect. Lack of affordable housing and substance use are named as separate “causes” for increased encampments of people experiencing homelessness, without capturing a more nuanced understanding of how the two issues may mutually reinforce each other. This symposium will illuminate research, lived experiences, service provision and policy practice perspectives to grow our collective understanding for how to inform equitable and culturally responsive approaches to homelessness.

¹LAHSA 2020 Homeless Count

Presenters and Panelists:

  • Howard Padwa, Principal Investigator, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, UCLA
  • Ricky Bluthenthal, Professor of Preventative Medicine, Associate Dean for Social Justice, Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, USC
  • Reba Stevens, Community Leader
  • Melisa Chavez, LCSW, Director of Client Services, Community Health Project LA
  • Amanda Cowan, Outreach Director, Clare Matrix
  • Gary Tsai, Director, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health


  • Gary Painter, Director, USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, Homelessness Policy Research Institute
  • Saba Mwine, Managing Director, Homelessness Policy Research Institute

Watch Event Highlights:                                                                                                          Watch Full Event:


Back to Events page