The University of Texas LBJ Launches Study on A Safe Haven

The University of Texas Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Policy Launches a Study on A Safe Haven Foundation Innovative Comprehensive Social Enterprise Approach To Address the Opioid and Homeless Epidemic

October 4, 2019 Chicago A Safe Haven Foundation’s award winning model lauded for its success with 25 years of history for addressing the opioid epidemic and the homeless epidemic has become the subject of a one year study by the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson Public Policy School. The opioid epidemic has reached a nationally recognized crisis level. In 2018 72,000 Americans lost their lives to opioids and another half a million deaths are projected within the next decade if current trends continue. Opioid addiction has been widely recognized as a public health epidemic and its victims cut across geographic, racial, and class lines. However, the challenges facing the homeless are especially steep in seeking solutions to opioid recovery.

This Policy Research Project (PRP) will take the perspective of a comprehensive social enterprise whose mission it is to help individuals transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. This PRP will grapple with the complicated questions that the nation faces in how to best address the opioid epidemic among the homeless. This project will take a deep dive into the opioid epidemic from a public health perspective but also one that considers the wrap around services needed to help in the recovery process. The central question for this PRP is what combination of services best allow individuals to gain self-sufficiency. A secondary question is how can the client best advocate for the tools/funding needed to help individuals to gain self-sufficiency. Watch joint video here.

“At the inauguration of the LBJ School of Public Affairs President Johnson set out to produce ‘thinkers and doers: people who dream of progress and will try to turn those dreams into achievements.’ I am proud to lead a team of the very best thinkers and doers who have set out to develop evidence-based research to address the critical policy juncture of homelessness and opioid use disorder. The LBJ Policy Research Project team together with a Safe Haven is working to provide a holistic, sensible, and compassionate route to healing those most in need.” – Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto (Instructor)

“I came to the LBJ School in large part because of the opportunity it offers to engage directly with public policy. Conducting historical and data-driven research to support the groundbreaking work that A Safe Haven is doing in Chicago is an invaluable experience. The ability to work directly with a client like A Safe Haven that is approaching systemic issues like homelessness and opioid addiction rom a holistic and intersectional perspective is such a unique opportunity to experience public policy in practice. Working directly with A Safe Haven and learning about the factors that contribute to opioid addition and homelessness from both a clinical and human perspective will make me a better and more thoughtful public servant.” – Amanda Clarke (MPAFF Student)

“As our Nation is grappling with both the Opioid and Homeless epidemics and the lack of economic development opportunities and affordable housing, throughout the Country, at A Safe Haven we are eager for the opportunity to partner with Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and her research team to provide the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Policy with all of the forensic and real time data and anecdotal stories that they need to compare and contrast A Safe Haven’s robust and holistic model with alternatives. We believe that our nation is at a “tipping point” and that we must make sure that we leave no stone unturned as we reimagine the healthcare delivery system to be expanded to include access to discharge options that include a step down community based state licensed behavioral healthcare and multi-disciplinary delivery system. Today, A Safe Haven serves over 5,000 people a year and partners with government entities that refer all types of populations in crisis, including men, women, families with children in crisis, at risk youth, re-entry populations and military veterans access to wrap around services and to seamlessly connect people to a system that is uniquely designed to help them overcome their challenges and barriers to employment and permanent housing.” – Neli Vazquez Rowland, President and Co-Founder

About A Safe Haven (ASH)

A Safe Haven is a not for profit 501(c)3 is based in Chicago Illinois. ASH a unique vertically integrated model that partners with social enterprise models, philanthropists and government agencies to provide an innovative, comprehensive and integrated system that helps over 5,000 people a year become independent and self-sufficient from homelessness, joblessness and addiction.

University of Texas Lyndon B Johnson School

Produces, high-quality research on important public policy and management issues in state, local, national and international contexts. Engages with relevant constituencies, including scholarly and policy communities, by disseminating the results of research and participating in public debates on these issues.