Homelessness and Mental Health: Impacts and Strategies for Effective Care | Recorded Webinar

Helping hand extended against a sunny background


In the United States between 2.5 and 3.5 million individuals experience homelessness in some form over the course of a single year. Homelessness is a serious problem, and risk factors exacerbating the potential for homelessness include adverse childhood experiences, substance use and mental illness. Studies exploring the significance of mental illness within the homeless population have discovered a high occurrence of mental disorders. Additionally, the culture of homelessness adds a dimension to outreach and delivery of services and supports that are often either missed or ignored, often to the detriment of the person in need of the services. Join us as we explore the culture of homelessness and the impact of mental illness upon unhoused individuals with an eye towards strategies and tips to provide person-centered, trauma-informed, strengths-based and culturally appropriate services and supports.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the culture of homelessness
  • Identify at least three environmental and/or individual risk factors for homelessness
  • Describe the racial disparities associated with homelessness
  • Describe the importance of client retention and continuity of care for someone experiencing homelessness
  • List at least two recovery management and relapse prevention techniques for people experiencing homelessness with mental and/or substance disorders
  • Recall at least 4 of the 12 core guiding principles of permanent supportive housing programs
  • Discuss the integration of substance use and mental disorder treatment in homeless services and why it is important
  • Describe at least two special populations who experience homelessness at higher rates than the general population





Steven Samra headshotSteven Samra, MPA, Senior Associate, C4 Innovations

Steven Samra was Deputy Director for SAMHSA's Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS). He has served in leadership capacities for SAMHSA’s Housing and Homelessness Resource Network, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and Services in Supportive Housing Technical Assistance Center and has led numerous peer involvement initiatives. Steven brings expertise in developing and leading peer advisory councils, harm reduction approaches, substance use and mental health recovery, peer leadership, criminal justice, cultural competence, promotion of lived experience as critical experiential knowledge, and effective outreach and engagement for challenging populations. After entering recovery in 1999 from homelessness, complex trauma, substance use, criminal justice involvement, and mental health challenges, Steven began medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in 2000. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he co-founded a street newspaper, The Contributor, and serves on the Nashville/Davidson Metropolitan Strategic Planning Committee to end homelessness in Nashville.


Will Connelly headshotWill Connelly, CEO, Park Center

Will Connelly grew up in Nashville and after graduating from high school, studied theology during his undergraduate years and then pursues a Master of Theology at Vanderbilt University, he felt called to be helpful to those who stand with their backs against the wall. He began his career engaging individuals experiencing homelessness and making connections to housing, entitlements, mental health support, and sometimes just an ear and a cup of coffee. Shortly after that, Will joined Park Center and led the SOAR program and has worked to end homelessness across the U.S. since then. His goals are simple: continue to provide excellent, evidence-based services in an inclusive, consistent, and radically compassionate way.



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