Having one’s own home — whether it is an apartment, a furnished room, or a house — is the cornerstone of independence for people. When a person has a decent, safe and affordable home, he or she has the opportunity to become part of the community. With stable permanent housing, people with mental illness are able to achieve other important life goals and, therefore, recovery.
Lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the most significant barriers to recovery for people living with mental illness; a safe place to live is essential to recovery. Without options to meet this basic need, too many cycle in and out of homelessness, jails, shelters and emergency departments—or remain institutionalized. Nearly one million adults with mental illness have been homeless. With average disability incomes of just 18 percent of the median income, most cannot afford decent housing.
An array of housing options, a continuum, is critical to providing people living with mental illness the stability they need to achieve recovery outcomes, therefore reducing the utilization of shelters, hospitalizations and involvement with the criminal justice system.
Supervised Group Housing
This type of housing provides the most care for its residents. Residents generally share a room with at least one other person. These facilities need to be licensed by the state. The license must be posted in the facility for the public to view. The license requires that the facility provide safe and clean conditions in which to live. Residents have their own bed, dresser and closet space. Bathrooms and common areas are shared. Some supports supervised group housing can provide are:
Partially Supervised Group Housing
This type of housing provides support for its residents, but staff is not there 24 hours a day. Residents can be left alone for several hours and are able to call for help if needed. Generally, residents share a room with at least one other person.
This type of housing provides the least amount of assistance. Residents are left alone for large amounts of time. However, there is usually someone they can call for assistance. Some houses will have residents sharing a room; others will not. (e.g., group homes with no on-site 24 hour care).
Subsidized or Independent funds (e.g., private market, public and non-profit housing).
This type of housing is for someone who is completely independent. Tenants are able to care for all their basic needs. Representative payees and caseworkers can still be a vital part of the tenant’s life.
Owner is able to live completely independent. The owner has all the responsibilities of day to day living and then all of the responsibilities of caring for and maintaining the home.
Learn more about the importance of housing options for people living with mental illness, visit Recovery Within Reach.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) homelessness resources