• Sam Turner

Temenos III Opens With A New Model

Temenos III provides permanent housing for those experiencing chronic inebriation.

Temenos III, the multi-unit permanent supportive housing uniquely designed to serve one of the most challenging elements of the Midtown Houston’s homeless population—those who are chronically homeless and experiencing chronic inebriation.

On November 1, 2018, this project brought 15 new apartments online that would otherwise not be available, expanding Houston's capacity for providing housing stability. These new units will be designated for a subpopulation of the homeless that has not been able to benefit from any of the existing homeless housing options that exist in Houston today.

The Need

Houston leads the nation in its commitment to housing individuals who experience chronic homelessness. However, despite recent concerted efforts, Houston has been unable to house a particular subpopulation within this community, because of their challenges with alcohol addiction. This homeless subpopulation represents the majority of the City’s homeless who remain on the streets of Houston, sleeping underneath the bridges, lining the streets with their meager, though prized possessions, and over populating and overextending midtown and downtown areas of the City that cannot accommodate the weight of this population’s needs. We drive pass them on a daily basis. At best, we pity them. At worst, we pretend to ignore them. Yet, however we respond, we all want to help.


Temenos III challenges the traditional ideas.

Typical housing can overwhelm this population with curfews, treatments and sobriety — all at once. That approach can set a person up to fail and return to the streets. Temenos III challenges the traditional ideas that homeless people need "dry" housing. The data from a study published by the American Journal of Public Health on a housing complex in Seattle, WA show that finding homeless people a permanent home first provides them with the support they need to tackle other health concerns later. It provides them with a more normal existence.

The Seattle study demonstrated that homeless people with alcohol problems decreased their consumption over two years at the facility. The average amount of alcohol consumed on a typical drinking day by the 95 study participants decreased by about twenty-five percent at the end of the two-year study.

The Solution

With the launch of Temenos III, Temenos CDC will again venture into new territory with an aggressive plan to once again disrupt homelessness in Houston at another level of complexity. Temenos III will house the aforementioned hard-to-house subpopulation of the homeless with a harm reduction housing model.

Harm reduction is an evidence-based model aligned to a set of strategies that reduce the negative consequences of high-risk activities. Harm reduction strategies meet the individual at their point of need, addressing the conditions of alcohol use along with the use itself. Harm reduction is based on the notion that some alcohol addicted individuals may never be able to stop drinking, but it is possible to reduce the harm they do to themselves, and to society.

Accordingly, in addition to providing permanent stable housing, Temenos will support Temenos III residents, as it currently does at Temenos I and II, with mental and behavioral health services. These services are needed to assist individuals who have experienced the trauma that accompanies distressing circumstances, such as is suffered with not being able to secure stable housing. Specifically, services will include mental health counseling, substance abuse support groups, educational and literacy training, life-skills development, case management, and volunteer care teams.

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