Date of Graduation

Summer 8-17-2016

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Substance use and homelessness are often associated. This population struggles from barriers such as increased HIV risks, trauma, mental illness, lack of treatment, and lack of health insurance. This project was designed to evaluate and revise substance use best practices within the Navigation Center, a rapid Housing First transitional shelter in San Francisco, CA. Harm reduction is widely utilized within the Housing First model. Harm reduction uses multiple practical interventions as an approach to reduce the negative consequences linked to substance use. A thorough investigation of harm reduction best practices and programs was completed. Qualitative research methods such as a focus group, five key informant interviews, and weekly piloted onsite groups guided the harm reduction best practices identified. The research concluded that combating homelessness with harm reduction is an alternative approach for individuals that cannot maintain abstinence. Harm reduction philosophies lay the groundwork for an individual to achieve their full potential over time.

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