Housing for persons with mental illnesses

(Preliminary draft)

Background

  • Homelessness remains a key issue facing persons with serious mental illnesses.  While the majority of persons who are homeless do not have a mental illness and the majority of persons with mental illnesses are not homeless, a disproporitionate percentage of homeless persons have a mental illness.
  • It is difficult and expensive to provide appropriate, recovery-oriented mental health services to persons who are homeless.
  • "Housing first" programs are highly successful at maintaining persons with mental illnesses in the community.  Illinois has a serious shortage of housing for persons with mental illnesses.
  • Illinois has a serious shortage of supported and assisted housing.
  • Supported housing is far cheaper than placing persons with mental illnesses in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.  If Illinois had a comprehensive array of supported housing resources available for persons with mental illnesses we could prevent harmful and expensive institutionalization and the preventable criminalization of persons with mental illnesses.
  • Some persons with mental illnesses are prevented from obtaining access to housing due to policies which disquality persons with a prior involvement in the criminal justice system.  Recent research shows that these policies are unwise.