CHD’s Hospitality Center in Waterbury, CT, is a haven for people experiencing homelessness. One of its main goals—aside from meeting such basic needs as providing a place for showering and doing laundry—is to help move the individuals it serves toward independence.
However, drug use is common among those living on the streets and in the shelters in Waterbury—and this problem tends to perpetuate homelessness. But thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation, Hospitality Center guests with substance use disorder will be able to obtain access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan, as well as accompanying supportive services such as case management, referrals to local job search agencies, access to internet and mail facilities, and community building opportunities.
“The grant will help the Hospitality Center address a significant issue that many of the clients at the Hospitality face: opioid use,” said Paul Tang, CHD program director of Adult Mental Health-Connecticut. “This is a significant barrier to recovery and attempting to find a job, and finding stable housing.”
Indeed, according to the grant application, “drug usage can lead to homelessness and homelessness can lead to drug usage. Both issues must be addressed at the same time to create lasting change.” Tang said the project will offer resources to help end the cycle of opioid use and homelessness.
“Narcan can quite literally be lifesaving, and that can be the difference between someone taking the first step in their recovery or not,” said Tang. He added that the Hospitality Center has used Narcan in the past to revive the people it serves.
The Hospitality Center tailors its services to what its guests need and want, understanding that positive outcomes are easier to obtain when the individual is fully on board with any proposed treatment and/or life changes. Accordingly, another goal of this project is to provide a safe space for individuals experiencing homelessness to address drug use if so desired, and find housing and stable employment.
“We plan to use the funds to purchase Narcan and also to provide education and training to our clients and staff,” said Tang. “By pairing the supplies with the education, we are hopeful that we can make a bigger impact on those struggling with opioid use.”