Housing is one of the most important social determinants of health. Without a safe, affordable place to live, it is almost impossible to achieve good health or to achieve one’s full potential. In addition, income supports like SSI and SSDI are essential for the payment of rent, food, and basic elements of survival. Currently, CIBHS supports counties and local communities in their housing and income support efforts through the SOAR program and by providing No Place Like Home Technical Assistance.
Behavioral health, affordable housing, and homeless services agencies have a common goal to improve the well-being of their clients, but they often work in silos, with different languages, acronyms, cultures, operating practices, and resources. Through the Rural Supportive Housing Initiative, and partnering with Collaborative Solutions, Inc., CIBHS is pleased to provide two 2-day Rural Supportive Housing workshops designed to address housing and case management strategies that can help vulnerable clients find and keep safe, stable, and affordable homes in small counties and rural areas. These workshops will also provide a forum for networking and partnership development between local behavioral health, housing and homeless services professionals and advocates.
The No Place Like Home (NPLH) Program, administered by the CA Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD), dedicates $2 billion in bond proceeds for the development of permanent supportive housing for persons who need mental health services and are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or are at-risk of chronic homelessness. Every county is eligible to receive an NPLH Technical Assistance grant, with amounts available based on county size.
The SOAR model is recognized by SAMHSA as a Promising Practice and designed to increase successful SSI/SSDI and Medicaid/Medicare applications for eligible adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness or co-occurring disorder.
In January of 2016, The California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, in partnership with Tuolumne County Behavioral Health Department received a two-year grant award through the Improving Health in Rural Counties Program from the Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare. The grant funds the development and implementation of the Tuolumne SOAR Collaborative (TSC), a multi-agency collaborative working to ensure timely access to income, health insurance and transitional housing for individuals with a disabling mental illness or co-occurring disorder who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.
The CA Department of Social Services (CDSS) recently established a new Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP). The 2017-18 California State Budget appropriated $43,461,000 for the program, which is available over a three-year period, from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020. The HDAP is a county-administered program that assists individuals (including those in families) who are (1) homeless and (2) may be eligible for disability benefits. The HDAP requires that counties offer outreach, case management, advocacy, and housing assistance to all program participants.