Housing for People with Mental Illness
|Research has shown that permanent supportive housing is the cornerstone to successful mental health treatment.
Safe and affordable housing is a basic human need that should be assured for all, especially those most vulnerable - people with mental disabilities. Current estimates indicate that Harris County has approximately 400 units of permanent supportive housing designed specifically for the 14,000 individuals living with mental illness who have unmet housing needs. Supportive Housing refers to housing which is coupled with an array of social services such as case management, job training and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Without access to this basic need, Harris County residents with mental illness often cycle through the most expensive community resources such as emergency rooms, in-patient hospital units and the criminal justice system. Limited availability of permanent supportive housing combined with a lack of coordination among providers has resulted in a fragmented and costly system of care.
In response to this need, the MHA Houston Housing Initiative has convened a broad range of stakeholders who share a remarkable vision of increasing permanent supportive housing options for people with mental illness. Since its inception more than three years ago, The Housing Initiative has fostered relationships with service providers, real estate developers, political entities, coordinating groups as well as primary and secondary mental health consumers with the goals of raising the awareness of the need to improve housing options for those with mental illness and galvanizing the will to take action.
MHA Houston and The Housing Corporation have forged a particularly strong alliance that has resulted in 110 additional units of permanent supportive housing at the newly renovated Jackson Hinds Gardens apartment complex in Northwest Houston. Together, MHA Houston and The Housing Corporation have recruited 16 agencies that have agreed to volunteer the following services to the residents of Jackson Hinds Gardens: physical and mental health assessments, out-patient mental health and substance abuse treatment, intensive case management and supportive employment. Many of these services are provided on-site, allowing residents access to the tools which will enable them to become more stable and ultimately more independent. In addition to providing our community with a much needed housing resource, Jackson Hinds Gardens will serve as a model for permanent supportive housing that MHA Houston intends to replicate through additional collaborative projects.