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Appendix 2

Guiding Principles for the Redesign of the Office of Mental Health Housing and Community Support Policies

Revised May 16, 2007

Introduction: Safe, decent and affordable housing is a cornerstone of recovery from mental illness, as well as a mainstay of "the American Dream." Stable access to good housing is a fundamental problem for many people with mental illness because of their poverty, the limited supply of very-low-income housing, the rising cost of rental market housing and discrimination. Given this context any approach to reforming housing for people with a mental illness must stress:

Expansion of low income housing in general

Flexible supports that do not condition housing on services

Expansion of specialty "supported housing" developed for people with a mental illness

Additionally, to reduce stigma, assuage "community resistance" and provide opportunities for recovery and rehabilitation, housing in normal/mixed neighborhoods and settings is preferable.

Unmet Needs: The unmet need for decent, safe and affordable housing--often with supports--is very substantial for people with mental illness. As a consequence of poor access to community housing, inadequate levels of mental health housing, and clinical programs that do not support people in getting/keeping housing successfully, many people with a mental illness are poorly housed or institutionalized. Thus, many people with a mental illness are "stuck" in:

Homelessness and the shelter system

Institutional settings (nursing homes, state psychiatric centers)

Family-supported housing that cannot be sustained (e.g., with aging parents)

Staffed residential programs (instead of homes)

Adult homes

Reform must balance improved access to housing for all of these individuals with the need to improve "old" models of residential care, to move toward local systems of care that can arrange, provide, and support people in housing that is appropriate to their needs and preferences at any level of recovery.

Current Services: The New York State Office of Mental Health funds and oversees a large array of housing resources and residential rehabilitation programs. These resources include:

Adult Programs

 Congregate Treatment (Group Homes)

5,071

units in 348 sites

 Residential Care Centers for Adults (Treatment and Support)

802

units in 7 sites

 Licensed Apartments

4,133

units

 CR-SROs

1,720

units in 35 sites

 Supported (uncertified) SROs

2,453

units in 65 sites

 Supported Housing

11,135

units

 Family Care

2,413

units

Children’s Programs

 Congregate Treatment (Group Homes)

272

units in 38 sites

 Family-Based Treatment

490

units

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