OBJECTIVE: An uncontrolled outcome study was conducted to examine
clinical improvement and the relationship of psychiatric and substance
abuse problems, community adjustment, and housing status among homeless
veterans who participated in a multisite residential treatment program.
METHOD: The study was performed at three U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs medical centers in Florida, Ohio, and California. Baseline,
discharge, and 3-month postdischarge follow-up data were collected for 255
veterans admitted to the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program.
Multiple dimensions of outcome were examined, including psychiatric
symptoms, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, social contacts, income, employment,
and housing. RESULTS: Program participation was found to be associated with
improvement in all areas of mental health and community adjustment.
Improvement in psychiatric symptoms was associated with superior housing
outcomes and improvement in community adjustment. When correlates of
improvement in alcohol and drug abuse were examined, only one of eight
possible relationships was found to be significant: improvement in alcohol
problems was positively associated with improvement in employment.
CONCLUSIONS: Homeless mentally ill veterans derive clear benefits from
participation in a multidimensional residential treatment program.
Improvement in mental health problems, however, is weakly linked to
improvement in other areas, suggesting that treatment programs may have to
attend separately to multiple domains of life adjustment.