Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Wayne Paris

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Tom Winter


This study is a systematic review to examine homeless veterans identified to be most at risk of unsuccessfully completing the VA’s housing program (HUD-VASH), which promotes the use of Housing First (HF) as it’s model for treating homelessness. The literature review identified those who were rural and experiencing comorbid substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health issues to likely be those who were most at risk. There were multiple reasons why this subgroup was most vulnerable including limited access to resources, higher levels of substance use and more serious mental health diagnoses, and chronic health needs. Both the literature review and systematic review in this study indicate a lack of evidence supporting Housing First especially its long-term effectiveness in the HUD-VASH program. The lack of evidence is due in part to the question of whether or not the programs examined in the literature are true HF models, which utilize all the core principles of HF. Further, the literature regarding HF predominantly measures the length of time to acquire permanent housing with little to no regard to harm reduction or rehabilitation of SUD and mental health needs. Further research is also needed to examine HUD-VASH effectiveness in treating rural veterans with comorbid SUD and mental health illnesses.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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