CORE study shows benefits of major local housing for health initiative

A new report by the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) illustrates the heathcare impacts of obtaining housing at Portland’s Blackburn Center.

In the fall of 2016, six Portland-area healthcare organizations announced an investment of over $21 million to Central City Concern (CCC) to tackle the affordable housing crisis by building housing and providing needed services to houseless individuals. The project’s cornerstone is the Blackburn Center, which opened in 2019 in East Portland. 

The Blackburn Center consists of 165 housing units offering permanent supportive housing, recovery housing for houseless individuals managing their substance use disorder, and recuperative care housing for houseless individuals discharged from the hospital. The Blackburn Center also includes an onsite federally qualified healthcare center, and also offers an array of additional integrated services such as case management, employment resources, support groups, and medication-supported recovery. 

With funding from the engaged hospital systems, the Center for Outcomes Research & Education (CORE) conducted an observational study of the impacts of obtaining housing at the center. CORE’s findings focus on two types of housing offered at the Blackburn Center: 

  • 80 recovery housing units for those managing their substance use disorder
  • 51 recuperative care housing units for houseless patients transitioning from inpatient hospital stays 

Recovery Housing

CORE assessed the impacts of obtaining recovery housing among the population being discharged from CCC’s Hooper Detox center from June 2019 to August 2020.  CORE examined outcomes using data from housing, healthcare, and the criminal/legal system. Results pointed to a variety of positive impacts for those exiting detox care and obtaining recovering housing at the Blackburn Center vs. those who were discharged as houseless, including: 

  • Fewer readmissions to detox
  • Fewer emergency department visits
  • Increased engagement in primary care

However, the impact of recovery housing on criminal/legal interactions was less pronounced. While CORE saw substantial reductions in interactions with the criminal/legal system for those who gained recovery housing at the Blackburn center, these reductions were similar to the homeless control group. It is important to note that due to a small sample size for this analysis, further research is needed to understand this relationship. 

Notably, CORE found that Blackburn Center recovery housing outcomes did not differ from outcomes for individuals who received recovery housing elsewhere, which highlights the importance and impact of having any type of recovery housing available for individuals managing a substance use disorder. 

Recuperative Care Housing 

For individuals being discharged from the hospital, CORE described outcomes associated with obtaining recuperative care housing. Results showed 7 and 30 day readmission rates of 4.3% and 13.8%, respectively. There was no control group available for comparison, but other research among homeless populations has shown higher 30 day readmission rates ranging from 17.2% to 27.7% (REFS as footnotes). 

Taken together, these results indicate that obtaining recovery and recuperative care housing at the Blackburn Center has major positive impacts on healthcare. 

To learn more, download the brief report.

1. Miyawaki A, et al., Hospital Readmissions and Emergency Department Revisits of Homeless Patients Treated at Homeless Servicing Hospitals in the USA, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2020.

2. Khatana SA, et al., Association of Homelessness with Hospitals Readmissions—An Analysis of Three Large States, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2020. 

3. Racine M, et al., ThirtyDay Hospital Readmission Among Homeless Individuals with Medicaid in Massachusetts, Medical Care, 2020.



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