Financing and Funding Resources Applicable to Housing for People with Mental Illness
The counties provide a variety of community mental health services using county and state funding, including housing support services. Housing Support Services under the supportive housing evidence based practice model, includes services which help individuals during pre-tenancy and transitioning to an apartment, such as housing location assistance and moving assistance. Services are also available to assist individuals with sustaining their housing such as educating individuals on tenant rights and responsibilities as described in a lease, and landlord and tenant negotiations.
County Mental Health Programs that use state and county funding report data on a variety of county based mental health services including Housing Support Services.
Section 811 Project Rental Assistance
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Program awarded Pennsylvania $5.7 million in new Section 811 resources in February 2013 and $8.5 million in March 2015. The Department of Human Services is a partner with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency as the grantee for the 811 PRA program. These resources are targeted to people with disabilities, including those leaving institutions, as project-based rental subsidies for units in Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is working with property owners and managers to establish and expand rental units throughout the commonwealth and working towards having 400 units dedicated to the 811 PRA program.
As part of Pennsylvania’s second Section 811 PRA Program request, the Commonwealth and six public housing authorities have committed to providing 151 Housing Choice Vouchers or public housing units for individuals with mental illness as a disability-specific Olmstead preference over the next four years beginning in 2015.
The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act (PHARE Act 105 of 2010) was established to provide certain allocated state or federal funds to be used to assist with the creation, rehabilitation and support of affordable housing throughout the commonwealth. Currently, PHARE includes funding through the Marcellus Shale Fund (Act 13 of 2012), Realty Transfer Tax Fund (Act 58 of 2015) and National Housing Trust Fund (HERA of 2008) and is administered by the Pennsylvania Finance Agency. There are slight differences in who is eligible to apply for funding under the different funding mechanisms, but in general, county governments are eligible to apply and very creative projects have been funded. This funding can and has been used to support individuals with disabilities.
The Technical Assistance Collaborative, updated a list of financing and funding resources and provides information to further housing at the local level.
Focus on Developing Working Housing Partnerships
A major goal of OMHSAS Housing technical assistance has been to engage counties in working with “Housing Partners”, through development of partnerships and participation in Local Housing Option Teams (LHOT’s), local housing authorities, Local Lead Agencies, Regional Housing Coordinators through the Self Determination Housing Project, community development and redevelopment authorities, county homeless planning partners including Continuums of Care, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) providers, and other local coalitions to end homelessness, Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.