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

Ann O’Hara

Technical Assistance Collaborative

NASMHPDWinter 2004 Commissioners Meeting

December 7, 2004


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 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

  • 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

  • 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

Median Income

50% of Median Income

SSI Benefits - 18% of Median Income


“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

  • 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 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 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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