Housing First R.I. Frequently Asked Questions

How long has Riverwood been around?

Riverwood started as a mental health provider with the establishment of a group home in 1983, for persons with serious and persistent mental illness. Since then, Riverwood has grown and enlarged its scope of services and clientele, currently operating 3 group homes, and 2 Community Support Programs. One team is based in Warren and the other in Providence. Since 2006, Riverwood has also operated the Housing First program from the Providence site.

How does Housing First work?

Housing First provides scattered site apartment housing to persons who meet the criteria of chronic homelessness which is one episode lasting a year or 4 episodes within 2 years. Housing First is involved in outreach services to individuals living on the streets or from shelter to shelter. Once an individual is housed, housing First provides landlord interface to help maintain housing. At any time during the process, the individual is able to select from a wide array of community support services offered by Riverwood to help maintain stability or housing. Referrals can be made for needed services that are not offered.

How is Housing First able to provide services?

Housing First receves funding through a variety of grant, and subsidy resources such as Housing First Rhode Island (HFRI) state funds, the RI Dept. of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), United Way, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HUD Shelter Plus Care, RoadHome, and others. Insurance such as Medicaide and other insurances help to pay for supplemental services and / or community support services.

What does community support mean?

Community support means mental health, substance abuse and vocational professionals are available to people like you or a loved one to provide support when needed to support community living. It is based on an individual plan of services that is developed by the individual and his / her treatment team that may include a psychiatrist, nurse, or substance abuse counselor in addition to a case manager.

What kinds of services can I expect?

A variety of services can be provided from strictly housing services and minimal case management to participation in groups, to medication management to more intense services. The Riverwood Housing First program is licensed by the state to provide case management and Community Psychiatric Support Treatment (CPST) to those meeting the CSP criteria (see below). This means we are able to provide a wide variety of services. An individual plan of services reflective of individual needs and goals Case management to access housing, transportation, legal, financial, money management needs and resources Assistance in accessing benefits and entitlements and for assuring income maintenance Mental Health, co-occurring, and substance abuse and vocational counseling Help in developing communication skills and symptom self-management Help in developing communication skills and social networks Assistance in utilizing, locating and coordinating the community medical, social, mental health, substance abuse, legal services, vocational and educational resources

Can anyone participate?

To participate in the Housing First Program, an individual must be 18 years of age or older and meet the criteria (see above) for chronic homelessness. Not everyone who participates in the Housing First will meet the requirements for CSP services. Those who do not can still be seen by the support team as needed. Those who meet CSP criteria must be 18 years of age or older with a major mental illness that has required psychiatric treatment more intensive than outpatient service (i.e. emergency services, day hospital, inpatient hospitalization or residential treatment) and needs to been seen for ongoing psychosocial and / or medical treatment or evaluation at least once per month.

Where do referrals come from?

Referrals come from a variety of sources. Homeless shelters, Behavioral Health centers, Hospitals, the state, and the criminal justice system have given referrals as well as individual self referrals. Housing First has several outreach / peer support staff that frequent homeless gathering sites, shelters, and soup kitchens in order to engage individuals needing help in obtaining housing and / or community support services.

What are the hours of operation?

The usual hours of operation are Monday through Friday: 8 am - 4:30 pm.

What if I have a serious problem after hours, weekend or holiday?

For a serious after hours problem that cannot wait until the next working day, call: 401-490-5480. In case of a life threatening psychiatric or medical emergency call 911.


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