Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 331–335 | Cite as

Housing for People with Substance Use Disorders: One Size Does Not Fit All Tenants—Assessment of 16 Housing Services and Suggestions for Improvement Based on Real World Experience

  • Richard LittlewoodEmail author
  • Mark Gilman
  • Sharon McLoughlin
Original Paper


Housing is an important factor for individuals addressing substance use disorders (SUD). This work compared aims and outcomes for new housing services and made suggestions for improvement. 16 new services were assessed over 6 months activity against factors identified as important. Services defined expected standards including (1) engagement with treatment for SUD, (2) restrictions on continuing substance use by tenants. After 6 months, 9 (56%) housing projects did not achieve planned standards and lowered criteria for inclusion. When setting up housing for people with SUD it is important to define clearly the nature of the intended service. Different types of housing programs in a network are needed to meet the evolving behaviour of tenants. One size does not fit all. Stable housing is important for people addressing SUD and these suggestions may increase the chance of providing a suitable foundation for people in need.


Housing Substance use disorders Recovery Real world experience 



To the experts who set up housing services and participated in this work. Tara Lumley and Dr Li Li provided editorial assistance in production of this manuscript.


This study was supported by NHS England.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Littlewood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Gilman
    • 2
  • Sharon McLoughlin
    • 3
  1. 1.Applied StrategicLondonUK
  2. 2.Discovering HealthManchesterUK
  3. 3.WiganUK

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