As we all know, PASRR can help to support state Olmstead efforts by ensuring that individuals with serious mental illness, intellectual disabilities, or related conditions are evaluated for the specific services they need. Getting these services can determine whether an individual becomes a successful candidate for transition back into the community.
One of the most significant obstacles to successful transitions is finding appropriate, affordable, integrated housing. A number of housing-related initiatives have been in the news in recent weeks; I'd like to call your attention to a few of them.
In December, National Public Radio highlighted the story of Donna Giron, an Ohio resident who was recently helped to transition from a nursing home back into the community thanks to Money Follows the Person. Hers is a touching story that highlights the vital role that housing-related efforts play in Olmstead planning.
Also in December, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) published an important new brief entitled Housing Choice Vouchers Targeted to Non-Elderly Persons with Disabilities -- Another Tool to Help End Homelessness. It provides detailed information about these special purpose vouchers, as well as strategies for engaging public housing authorities in using these vouchers as a part of a community-wide strategy.
On December 11, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it directed the government-sponsored housing entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside and allocating funds to the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The NHTF is a federally funded program primarily dedicated to expanding affordable rental housing for Extremely Low Income (ELI) households with incomes between 0 and 30% of Area Median Income. Starting in January 2016, state housing agencies will receive an allocation of these funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). More information about the NHTF can be found here.
Recently, HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the second round of housing assistance to help 1,984 homeless veterans find supportive housing. Assistance is being provided through the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services from the VA. Information about the local impacts of this assistance can be found here.
Finally, AARP has highlighted trends in the so-called "tiny house" movement -- a small but growing movement among architects, planners, housing advocates, and citizens to embrace the potential upsides of living in small spaces. These spaces can help increase the supply of housing and meet the needs of individuals who are older, as well as individuals who have disabilities -- thus reducing the likelihood they may need nursing facility care. For one example of this approach, read the AARP piece entitled "How to Encourage More 'Lifelong' Housing."