Individuals experiencing homelessness are one population which is more likely to need treatment for addiction. Co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health conditions can also make treatment more challenging. Find out what treatment options are available, where a person experiencing homelessness can receive support and help for addiction.


Addiction Treatment

Nearly half of all individuals who are homeless are estimated to abuse substances. The higher rate of substance abuse is due to many factors including a higher incidence of mental health disorders such as depression, mood disorders and schizophrenia. Treatment options for individuals experiencing homelessness may include the following:

  • Educational and vocational services to help the homeless become more independent and self-sufficient post treatment
  • Health services including routine checkups and medical services
  • Mental health services along with addiction treatment
  • Residential services including beds to provide a safe space to live during treatment


Treatment Steps

The basic steps of treating an individual experiencing homelessness are essentially the same as any other type of treatment. Initial assessment helps develop a plan for the rest of treatment while aftercare is always an important element to ensure proper follow up with a recovery program. Some of the following steps may be included in treatment:



Typically the first step in treating a person experiencing homelessness is assessment by specialists. A team of trained professionals will determine a proper treatment care plan which outlines the type and duration of treatment and services needed.



A period of time in which a person experiencing homelessness attempts to get rid of toxic substances in the body usually results in uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous, withdrawal symptoms. Detox is typically recommended under medical supervision to reduce the risk of relapse and provide supervision for an individual’s comfort and safety.



Individual behavioral and group therapy are helpful for people experiencing homelessness. Some drug addiction treatment programs may also use medications to help eliminate cravings.


Social Services

Addiction treatment programs typically offer educational, vocational, financial and residential social services. This helps prepare individuals experiencing homelessness with opportunities for self-sufficiency and a drug-free lifestyle.



The last step in addiction treatment is aftercare. Services can include weekly outpatient counseling sessions, group therapy sessions and perhaps a stay in a transitional living facility. A mental health specialist can support individuals with underlying mental health issues. Many people are able to move away from homelessness and move on into productive lives following treatment.


Treatment Barriers

Some of the following treatment barriers can make it difficult to provide appropriate support to individuals experiencing homelessness. Included may be:

  • Denial
  • Fear or distrust of authorities
  • Financial difficulties
  • Lack of insurance
  • Unsure of where to go next


People who have addiction and are homeless can turn to shelters for immediate support. Shelters provide a place to give direction and have pamphlets or other information available for individuals who are addicted in need of treatment. Hospitals and clinics also help individuals experiencing homelessness and figure out how to cover treatment costs.

Hired Power believes in supporting every individual through addiction to recovery. If you are in a place where you need help moving past addiction, call us to find out how we can support your journey back to health.