Bridging Gaps in Implementing the Olmstead Mandate and Ending Chronic Homelessness – USICH
HUD’s Housing & Healthcare (H2) Technical Assistance Team is pleased to provide you with information on a new resource posted by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).
On February 24, 2016 USICH released Fulfilling the Dream: Aligning State Efforts to Implement Olmstead and End Chronic Homelessness, a policy brief encouraging states to coordinate efforts to implement the Olmstead community integration mandate and to end chronic homelessness. The document provides seven key strategies to guide states in developing an action plan to achieve both an end to chronic homelessness and compliance with the mandate issued through the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead ruling. Key steps that states can take include:
- Engaging in a collaborative planning process.
- Developing a broader plan to increase supportive housing opportunities by committing and coordinating affordable housing resources and ensuring the coverage of housing-related and supportive services under Medicaid.
- Developing a shared definition and measures of quality and community integration.
- Building the capacity of community-based housing and services providers.
In a blog post announcing the release, USICH Deputy Director Richard Cho wrote:
"Homelessness is, and always has been, a problem stemming from the cracks between systems of care and public policy failures to seal those cracks. The roots of the problem of chronic homelessness in particular is due, in large part, to the de-institutionalization of the mental health system during the 1970s and 1980s, leading to a mass release of people from state psychiatric hospitals nationwide and the failure to create an effective community-based system of care for people with psychiatric disabilities. The result of this failure was that people with psychiatric disabilities wound up homeless or in jails and prisons, while others remained in state hospitals or other segregated settings, like nursing homes.
'The time has come for us to rejoin these efforts, redress the root cause of policy failures, and pursue a housing and community integration strategy that both ends homelessness and ends unnecessary institutionalization and incarceration among people with disabilities. The opportunities that come from tearing down walls and bridging gaps between homelessness and Olmstead policies are enormous. Together, let’s fully realize the potential of supportive housing as a tool for solving complex social problems that affect our most vulnerable citizens who need housing and services to achieve stability, dignity, and independence."
Visit HUD’s Housing & Healthcare (H2) Initiative webpage.