The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 197-212

First online:

Adopting Best Practices: Lessons Learned in the Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness (CICH)

  • Sarah A. McGrawAffiliated withNew England Research Institutes Email author 
  • , Mary Jo LarsonAffiliated withNew England Research Institutes
  • , Susan E. FosterAffiliated withNational Center on Family Homelessness
  • , Marilyn Kresky-WolffAffiliated withThe CDM Group, Inc.
  • , Elizabeth M. BotelhoAffiliated withNew England Research Institutes
  • , Emily A. ElstadAffiliated withNew England Research Institutes
  • , Ana StefancicAffiliated withColumbia University
  • , Sam TsemberisAffiliated withPathways to Housing

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The Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness (CICH) was established to provide housing and supportive services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. As part of this initiative, 11 projects across the country received funding to apply models of best practices to support their clients in housing. This paper reports on the experiences of the CICH projects in their use of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI), clinical practice models commonly used by CICH projects. A qualitative analysis identified five areas of challenge for the projects: (1) Incomplete and underdeveloped staff teams; (2) Incomplete understanding of the practice models; (3) Using the elements of the practice models; (4) Interagency teaming; and (5) Competing expectations of multiple federal agencies. The paper describes the specific challenges in each of the five areas as well as training approaches and gaps in training and the perceived benefits of the practice models as reported by project staff.


homeless practice models ACT motivational interviewing