Harm Reduction Institute / Heartland Health
(01/01/2008 – 05/31/2009)
CURL conducted an evaluation of the Midwest Harm Reduction Institute of Heartland Alliance’s (MWHRI) harm reduction (HR) training and technical assistance program. This program was provided to two organizations located in Chicago that provide housing and related services to people who are homeless. The aims of the evaluation were to help MWHRI:
- Understand the impact of the HR training and implementation on RSSI and Inspiration Corporation;
- Understand how HR was being implemented within the agencies;
- Develop recommendations for future training activities and policy suggestions related to HR.
Data were collected through participant observation and focus groups and phone interviews with staff at participating organizations. A number of important similarities were found between the two organizations as they related to the training. These similarities demonstrated at least four significant issues that the MWHRI needs to consider when developing trainings at future sites. First, professional development activities that trained individuals in concrete techniques, not philosophy and theory, were the most apparent aspect of the training that staff enjoyed at both organizations. Second, the level of buy-in on the staff, board of director, and property management levels were each important to take note of when developing and carrying out training because each level could affect training outcomes in different ways. Third, the number and type of relationships with property management entities were both important to understand for the implementation and sustainability of HR housing. Finally, staff members were receptive to HR if they can understand how it relates to already existing policies and practices.
- C. George, CURL
- D. Watson, CURL