Supported Housing


Category: Life Style Options

What is it?

Supported housing is typically a model of service in which the person diagnosed with PTSD is provided immediate access to independent housing that is fully integrated into the community, along with ongoing support. This model was an improvement on older models which used a graduated sequence of housing options. The downfall of the older models was that many diagnosed with PTSD did not progress to independent housing, instead remaining caught in an ongoing cycle.

How does it work?

Supported housing provides the rehabilitation process with greater stability. Supported housing ensures that those with PTSD reach independent housing, by giving housing options that are spread throughout general residential areas with a limited number of residents. This is in contrast to older models which relied on collective housing separated from standard community housing, such as housing facilities on hospital grounds. Clinical support is a key aspect of supported housing and this typically takes the form of ongoing assertive community treatment services, which provides treatment in the home to support clients’ efforts to remain independent.

Is it effective?

Supported housing is typically suggested as adjunct to other forms of treating PTSD. To date there have been no formal randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness of supported housing for those diagnosed with PTSD. Therefore, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of supported housing.

Are there any disadvantages?

Some supported housing sites can house residents with multiple mental health conditions, in addition to drug and/or alcohol usage. This can create an environment where these influences are difficult to resist. Rules and regulations can be implemented to prevent substance abuse, although for residents not involved in those activities, the structure can seem restrictive.

Where do you get it?

Referral to supported housing can be provided by specifically trained, registered health practitioners. While these strategies are pursued, it is also important that the person with PTSD is under the care of a certified health professional.

What are the evidence limitations?

There is currently no explicit evidence to support supported housing as an independent intervention for PTSD. Much of the evidence base is derived from lower levels of evidence such as expert opinion and clinical experiences. Therefore interpreting this evidence should be undertaken with caution.


Based on the current lack of high quality evidence, supported housing cannot be recommended as a first-line, stand alone intervention for PTSD. It may be considered as an adjunct to other PTSD interventions, such as psychological and drug therapies.

Key References

Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Institute of Medicine 2008, Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence. ; The National Academies Press.

Northwest Resource Associates of Seattle 2002, Evaluation of the Lyon Building Supported Housing Program, viewed 15 December 2008.

Penk, W & Flannery, RB 2008, ‘Psychological Rehabilitation’, in Effective Treatments for PTSD, 2nd edn, ed. E Foa, T Keane & M Freidman, Guilford Press, New York, USA.

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