JCOIN Webinar | Approaches to Housing People Living with Substance Use Disorders

Harm Reduction and Implications for Justice-Involved Residents


Thursday, October 6 | 1:30 - 3 p.m. ET

In this webinar, Dr. Dennis Watson of Chestnut Health Systems will walk the audience through a description of the Housing First approach and how it compares with the Continuum of Care/Treatment First approach. Dr. Watson will discuss the issues related to implementation of harm reduction principles within Housing First programs and highlight possible implications for residents who are involved in the criminal justice system.

Joining Dr. Watson will be Ed Stellon of Heartland Alliance and Dr. Carrie Pettus of Justice System Partners.

Mr. Stellon is the Executive Director of Heartland Alliance, and has worked with Dr. Watson in the past to address implementation strategies for evidence-based practices related to housing first models. He will share his insights from the lens of a practitioner who has overseen various treatment programs, homeless service systems and has cultivated extensive knowledge in these areas by working with the substance use and mental health disorder population. Dr. Pettus will discuss findings from a new report “Housing Stability after Incarceration,” which draws on interview data from a series of people two weeks, eight months, and 14 months post-release. The report centers housing as a key social determinant in successful reentry to understand how to focus resources on those most in need.


Featured Speakers:


Dennis Watson, PhD

Dr. Dennis Watson is a researcher at the Lighthouse Institute, a division of Chestnut Health Systems. His specialty areas include qualitative and mixed methods, implementation science, co-occurring substance use disorder and serious mental illness, homelessness, recovery supports, harm reduction-oriented services.


Ed Stellon

During his years at Heartland Alliance Health (HAH), Mr. Stellon has worked within the substance use, mental health, primary care, and homeless service systems providing direct care as well as overseeing outreach, behavioral health treatment programs, supportive housing, food and nutrition services, systems change initiatives, and training projects. He is committed to innovative service models that promote human rights and is a founding member of the Midwest Harm Reduction Institute.


Carrie Pettus, PhD, MSW

Dr. Pettus concentrates her direct practice intervention research on working with community partners to develop and research behavioral health interventions to enhance positive social support, respond to lifetime trauma experiences among justice-involved adults, treat substance use and mental health disorders, and generate overall well-being for those impacted by justice involvement.