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Tsai J, Rosenheck RA, Kasprow WJ, McGuire JF. Sobriety as an admission criterion for transitional housing: a multi-site comparison of programs with a sobriety requirement to programs with no sobriety requirement. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2012 Oct 1; 125(3):223-9.
BACKGROUND: This study examined whether homeless clients enrolled in transitional housing programs that required sobriety (SR) as an admission criterion have outcomes comparable to clients enrolled in programs that did not require sobriety (NSR) as an admission criterion. METHODS: A total of 1062 military veterans in 40 transitional housing programs funded by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs were grouped based on whether they were in SR or NSR programs and followed over a one-year period after program discharge. Participants in SR and NSR programs were compared on their ratings of the social climate of the program, and housing and psychosocial outcomes. RESULTS: Participants in SR programs reported more days housed and better psychosocial outcomes than participants in NSR programs, although the differences were small and there were no differences in ratings of their social climate. Both participants in SR and NSR programs showed improvements on most outcomes after discharge from transitional housing. There were no significant differences in outcomes between participants actively abusing substances at program entry compared to those who were not. CONCLUSIONS: Requiring sobriety as an admission criterion in transitional housing made only a small difference in housing outcomes post-discharge. Further study is needed to determine whether requiring sobriety at admission in transitional housing is necessary for successful client outcomes.