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SAMHSA News - July/August 2008, Volume 16, Number 4


Homelessness Services: Web 2.0 Connects Providers Online (Part 2)

Preventing Homelessness

A special issue of the Journal of Primary Prevention highlights innovative strategies to prevent and end homelessness in high-risk groups. (See SAMHSA News online, September/October 2007.) Visitors can download articles for free, said Dr. Stone, noting that everything on the site is in the public domain.

A wide range of materials are available within topics. The outreach topic, for example, features one provider’s thoughts on why it’s important to reach out to potential clients, tips on how to do outreach, and a link to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s outreach curriculum.

The site also features a free Webcast series. Topics include recovery-oriented services for people experiencing homelessness as well as Assertive Community Treatment teams.

Information will go up on the site quickly, stressed Dr. Stone, noting the streamlined process for posting material.

If there’s a conference, the site can put up notes almost as soon as it happens. “People won’t necessarily have to attend conferences to get firsthand information, which will save providers some money,” Dr. Stone explained. “It also will cut the time between research and practice by getting evidence-based practices out into the field as soon as possible.”

The “health” topic area includes resources devoted to “self-care.” Articles are featured on how and why providers should take care of themselves. In addition, a self-care assessment tool and tips for supervisors are included. The goal is not only to help providers do their jobs, but also to encourage them to lead healthier, more balanced lives, so they can stay in their jobs longer.

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Opportunities for Partners

The HRC Web site will bring together all of the Federal Government’s homelessness-related materials in one place.

Say you’re a provider interested in the 10-year plans to end homelessness that the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness encourages every municipality to have. The HRC site could provide access to a step-by-step guide to creating a State Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“Part of our commitment is rapid dissemination of innovations—what’s working in the field,” said Mary Ellen Hombs, M.C.P., the council’s deputy director and a member of the HRC Advisory Steering Committee.

Partner organizations can post materials on the site. Partners also can create their own pages on the site. “Adding their own logos will help to maintain their ‘brand’ on the overall site,” said Dr. Stone.

One of the first such “partner” pages will belong to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The page offers a sample of HUD’s information, explained Julie Hovden, a homelessness specialist at HUD.

With a click of a mouse, users are directed to the HUD site for additional information. As HUD updates the information on its own Web site, the information on its Homelessness Resource Center page will be automatically updated, too.

“There’s no wrong door,” Ms. Hovden said. “We just want to make sure folks can get our information. The HRC Web site can be a portal to many agencies’ resources.”

For more information about the Homelessness Resource Center and its new online features, visit SAMHSA’s Web site at www.homeless.samhsa.gov.

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