Federal housing issues and programs impacting state mental health systems
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Federal Housing Issues and Programs Impacting State Mental Health Systems. Ann O’Hara Technical Assistance Collaborative NASMHPD Winter 2004 Commissioners Meeting December 7, 2004. Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) .

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Federal housing issues and programs impacting state mental health systems

Federal Housing Issues and Programs Impacting State Mental Health Systems

Ann O’Hara

Technical Assistance Collaborative

NASMHPDWinter 2004 Commissioners Meeting

December 7, 2004


Technical assistance collaborative tac

Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC)

  • TAC works to expand decent, safe, and affordable housing and support services opportunities for people with mental illness and other disabilities

  • TAC focuses on the nation’s affordable housing “delivery system” and how it should respond to the housing needs of people with disabilities


Housing 101 understanding the problem

Housing 101: Understanding the Problem

  • Housing needs and housing affordability affected by two interrelated factors

    • Income of the household

    • Cost of housing

  • People with mental illness have extremely low incomes

  • People with mental illness need housing assistance from government housing programs


Tac priced out studies

TAC Priced Out Studies

  • Priced Out studies released for 1998, 2000, and 2002

  • Compares SSI income to housing costs

    • Nationally

    • By state

    • Locally in 2,702 housing market areas

  • Documents a severe housing crisis for people with disabilities with low incomes

  • New Priced Out in 2004 to be released in 2005


Priced out findings

Priced Out Findings

  • SSI means extreme poverty

  • SSI income equal to 18 percent of median income

  • Average one-bedroom rent is 105.5 percent of SSI

  • Average studio rent is 89 percent of SSI

  • SSI equivalent to earning $3.43 per hour

  • Rents rising twice as fast as SSI cost-of-living adjustments

  • People with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have incomes below 30 percent of median income


Ssi income

SSI Income

Median Income

50% of Median Income

SSI Benefits - 18% of Median Income


Affordable housing vs subsidized housing

“Affordable Housing” vs. “Subsidized Housing”

  • “Affordable housing” = Rents are below market rent

    • Market rent = $700 per month

    • “Affordable” rent = $600 per month

  • “Subsidized housing” means tenants pay only 30 percent of income for rent

  • SSI recipients pay about $160 per month in subsidized housing

  • Only subsidized housing provides an on-going subsidy needed to close “housing affordability gap” for people with mental illness


Key issues

Key Issues

  • Most subsidized housing programs are federally funded (i.e. HUD)

  • Recent federal policy emphasis on “affordable housing” rather than “subsidized housing”

  • “Elderly only” housing policies reducing supply of subsidized housing for people with disabilities

  • HUD subsidized housing budget targeted

  • Proposals to fundamentally alter HUD-subsidized housing programs

  • Proposals would hurt people with mental illness and others receiving SSI


Hud subsidized programs important to people with mental illness

HUD Subsidized Programs Important to People with Mental Illness

  • HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

  • HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program

  • HUD McKinney-Vento Supportive Housing Programs for Homeless People with Disabilities


Section 8 voucher program at risk

Section 8 Voucher Program At Risk

  • Section 8 is the most important HUD subsidy program

  • Assists 2 million households

  • Assists 440,000 disabled households – majority are likely to be people with mental illness

  • Federal government has proposed to dismantle Section 8 by:

    • Cutting Section 8 spending

    • Converting Section 8 to a block grant

  • Block grant would negatively affect people with mental illness receiving Section 8 and waiting for Section 8

  • Current HUD policy implemented in 2004 already causing problems for people with mental illness

  • Strong advocacy effort needed to preserve and expand Section 8


Negative affects of proposed block grant

Negative Affects of Proposed Block Grant

  • Proposed cut of $1.6 billion equal to 12 percent of Section 8 budget

  • Could have eliminated 250,000 vouchers now in use

  • No extremely low-income targeting

  • Program re-directed towards higher income households to save money

  • Increased rents for tenants

  • Flexibility to local Public Housing Agencies to set policies

  • Elimination of 62,000 vouchers now targeted by Congress exclusively for people with disabilities


Negative affects of hud 2004 policies

Negative Affects of HUD 2004 Policies

  • 2004 cuts already affecting people with disabilities

    • Increased tenant rents

    • Decrease in HUD Fair Market Rents

    • More landlords reluctant to use program

    • Thousands of vouchers not being re-issued to people on waiting lists

    • Supportive housing for chronically homeless people stalled


Section 8 vouchers and state mental health systems

Section 8 Vouchers and State Mental Health Systems

  • Key resource for emerging housing “best practices” in mental health

    • State mental health funded “Bridge subsidies” linked to Section 8

    • Permanent supportive housing intended to end chronic homelessness financed with Section 8

    • People with mental illness who have Section 8


Other key hud supportive housing programs

Other Key HUD Supportive Housing Programs

  • HUD’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program

    • Has provided 2,500 new subsidized units per year for people with disabilities

    • Funding being cut

  • HUD’s McKinney-Vento permanent supportive housing programs for homeless people with disabilities

    • Has provided 10,000 new units of supportive housing per year

    • Funding being cut


State mental health agencies best practices in housing

State Mental Health Agencies:“Best Practices” in Housing

  • Much has been accomplished and more could be done if these programs are preserved and expanded

    • Ohio

    • Washington, DC

    • Hawaii

    • California

    • Connecticut

  • Accomplishments could be jeopardized

  • Effects of Section 8 problems now and in future


What is needed

What is Needed

  • Importance of housing knowledge, capacity, and “up to the minute” information

  • Strong advocacy effort

    • Governor

    • State housing officials

    • Federal officials

  • NASMHPD’s role with CCD Housing Task Force

  • Cross disability strategies at state and local level

  • Data on need and best practices to reinforce policy positions

  • Technical assistance


Tac information and advocacy tools

TAC Information and Advocacy Tools

  • NASMHPD/TAC Partnership

  • TAC’s publications

  • TAC website www.tacinc.org

  • E-mail us at [email protected]

  • Weekly housing policy updates from National Low Income Housing Coalition www.nlihc.org

  • More Section 8 info at Center for Budget and Policy Priorities www.cbpp.org

  • Other partners: National Alliance to End Homelessness, Corporation for Supportive Housing, NAMI, NCCBH


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