In the fall of 2005 the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) unveiled a landmark document entitled A Call for Change: Toward a Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Service System for Adults.. The OMHSAS Adult Advisory Committee formed a Housing Work Group to develop a set of principles, strategies and action plans for expanding housing with recovery-oriented services for consumers. The group was charged with developing a document that is consistent with the guiding principles set forth in A Call for Change and that can be used by OMHSAS and other commonwealth agencies to set priorities and target resources, and by the county mental health offices to address the housing needs of their consumers. The county mental health offices continue to identify housing as one of the major challenges they face in meeting the service needs of persons with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders in the community.
A Plan for Supporting Housing and Recovery-Oriented Services is the November 2006 report of the Housing Work Group. It addresses housing with recovery-oriented services for all adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. This plan remains relevant today and continues to be a guide to developing supportive housing throughout Pennsylvania.
Since 2006, OMHSAS and the County Mental Health offices have been working to advance a recovery oriented and community integrated system, which includes supportive housing as one of the social determinants of health. In November 2006, OMHSAS developed a structure for counties to utilize HealthChoices reinvestment funds to develop Permanent Supportive Housing. Seven interconnected housing strategies may be used, and include: Capital Projects, Bridge Rental Subsidies, Master Leasing, Housing Contingency, Housing Clearinghouse, Housing Support Services and Project Based Operating Assistance.
2016 - 2020 Supporting Pennsylvanians Through Housing
Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Social Programs (OSP) works closely with the program offices in DHS, including OMHSAS, on advancing Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) across the commonwealth for individuals with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness. DHS developed a five-year housing strategy titled “Supporting Pennsylvania through Housing.” This document clearly articulates the demand and need for Permanent Supportive Housing, the barriers to PSH, as well as specific actionable strategies and goals for expansion and access to PSH for individuals DHS serves.
Definition of Permanent Supportive Housing
Supportive housing is a successful, cost-effective combination of affordable housing with services that helps people live more stable, productive lives. Supportive housing works well for people who face the most complex challenges—individuals and families who have very low incomes and serious, persistent issues that may include substance use, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS; and may also be homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
A supportive housing unit is:
Supportive Housing is:
Supportive Housing is linked to support services that are: