The Supported Housing Initiative is one of the many programs of the Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Supported housing is an Office of Mental Health initiative, which began in the mid-1970s. Although many individuals have received beneficial rehabilitation from the community residence program, which has helped them learn how to live successfully in the community, the limitations of this approach have become apparent. People do not want to move each time they make progress in their rehabilitation; often, affordable housing is not available for people to "transition" into, and many people do not want or may not require the structure of a residential program. In recognition of these needs, New York state began the implementation of supported housing.
In order to be considered for Supported Housing services, an individual must meet the Community Support Services eligibility requirements, which would include the following:
The individual would need to have a previous psychiatric history to include one of the following:
One six-month stay in an inpatient facility.
Two stays of any length in an inpatient psych unit in the preceding two years.
Three or more admissions to an OMH operated or licensed certified mental health outpatient program within the last 18 months.
SSI/SSD recipient due to mental illness.
The individual would need to be considered functionally disabled and have three of the following areas of need:
Daily living skills.
Ability to concentrate.
The unifying principle of supported housing is that individual options in choosing preferred long-term housing must be enhanced through:
a. Increasing the number of affordable options available to recipients;
b. Ensuring the provision of community supports necessary to assist recipients in succeeding in their preferred housing and to meaningfully integrate recipients into the community; and
c. Separating housing from support services by assisting the resident to remain in the housing of his choice, while the type and intensity of services vary to meet the changing needs of the individual.
Supported Housing targets three populations: individuals ready to leave certified community residences; individuals discharge-ready from psychiatric centers; and individuals who are currently homeless, living in shelters, depots or on the streets. Additionally, individuals served by this program must meet the eligibility criteria for a serious and persistent mental illness.
A full range support services will be available to the recipient, including:
Case management services.
Implementation of support plans.
Monthly fire safety checks.
Monthly home visits.
The Mental Health Association provides many recreations to all of our residents. The agency provides plenty of opportunities for our Supported Housing participants to socialize with their peers while enjoying dances, picnics, dinners, monthly bingo, etc.
For more information or to access these programs, please contact the Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties at 11 Mohawk Place, Amsterdam, at 842-3717 or visit our website, www.mentalhealthassociation.org.
This article was submitted by Michele Pooler, Supported Housing director.