Health Services

DESC clients live with severe and often untreated mental illness, substance use disorders, and a host of other physical and developmental disabilities that have caused or contributed to their chronic homelessness. By addressing each client’s unique needs through a structured and comprehensive recovery plan, staff are able to help clients stabilize and reclaim their lives. Engagement in our highly effective, state-licensed mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs contribute to each client’s success in housing.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment

The Substance Use Disorders Team serves clients who may be, or are considering changing their use patterns, using substances in a safer manner, seeking medication assisted treatment (MAT), or working toward stopping use altogether. Using harm-reduction techniques and evidence-based practices, we serve each client using a low barrier, individualized, strengths-based approach. more

Support, Advocacy, Growth, and Employment (SAGE)

SAGE is the ongoing comprehensive case management component of DESC’s mental health program.

SAGE case managers work with clients to help them secure and maintain housing and improve their clinical and social stability, thus enhancing their level of independence and self-sufficiency. This program served more than 1,700 people in the last year. more

Homeless Outreach Stabilization and Transition (HOST)

HOST case managers provide outreach and intensive case management on the streets and in shelters, hospitals, jails, libraries and other facilities.

By seeking out mentally ill and homeless people in this way, HOST outreach staff develop trusting relationships that encourage new clients to begin seeking assistance.

At DESC’s mental health drop-in center, adults can become familiar with the environment at their own pace. When they are ready, case managers will help identify their underlying issues and service needs, facilitate access to these services (whether at DESC or with other service providers), help achieve clinical and social stabilization, secure housing, and transition into mental health treatment and long-term case management. more

Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT)

PACT is a nationally recognized practice that works with people who suffer from serious and persistent mental illness, assisting them in their journey towards recovery. The PACT model is distinguished by its intensive outreach and team-oriented, trans-disciplinary approach. more

Community Outreach and Advocacy Team (COAT)

COAT was developed to provide multidisciplinary services focused on equity and social justice, to those affected by legal competency services and the criminal justice system. more

Services and Housing to Access Recovery Program​ (SHARP)

SHARP is a multidisciplinary team providing outreach and engagement services to adults experiencing chronic homelessness and living with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues. SHARP supports clients in obtaining permanent supportive housing and continues to provide outreach services after move-in to ensure client success post move-in. more

Onsite Medical Services

It’s hard to access preventative health care services when you’re living without shelter and with severe and persistent mental illness. So, it’s not surprising that most people who experience chronic homelessness get most of their medical care in emergency rooms, often after routine conditions have become matters of life and death. more

Lew Middleton Drop-In Center

The Lew Middleton Drop-In Center was started by Washington State’s longest standing Certified Peer Counselor, Lew Middleton Jr. Since 1994, the center is and continuously aims to be a safe space for a very special and diverse population. The center is run and operated by a team of Certified Peer Specialists, who receive intensive clinical training in order to best serve the community and provide recovery-orientated services. more

Community Resource Specialists (In partnership with the Seattle Public Library)

DESC’s Community Resource Specialists partnership with the Seattle Public Library (SPL) began in 2016. This program is designed to provide library patrons with social service information and referrals. The Community Resource Specialists hold five drop-in sessions at three different branches on a weekly basis to provide one-on-one assistance to patrons. Community Resource Specialists can help connect patrons to an array of services including shelter, food assistance, getting an ID, job training, legal help, mental health counseling, domestic violence support, medical care and more. Patrons can also schedule appointment outside of these drop-in hours.

In partnership with DESC’s clinical programs entry services manager, the community resource supervisor has brought back the Downtown Access Engagement Transition Network (DAETN). DAETN started back in 1989 and was originally utilized as a space to coordinate street outreach in Downtown Seattle to establish first contact with Seattle’s most vulnerable homeless adults. Today DAETN is a networking group of providers looking to share information, updates, ideas and perspectives.