This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

November 11, 2009

Supportive Housing Bill Needs Senate Sponsors

Action Alert on Supportive Housing

The Senate is currently considering a bill to significantly broaden and improve the Section 811 program. The Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 (S. 1481) would spur creation of thousands of new 811 units every year by streamlining the competition process for new projects and authorizing a new and innovative investment program that fulfills the promise of true community integration as envisioned in the Americans with Disabilities Act (see the Bazelon Center's August 5 Mental Health Policy Reporter).

The new program, a demonstration, would provide rental subsidies to create small set-asides of supportive housing units (e.g., 5%) for people with disabilities and SSI-level income in the hundreds of thousands of high-quality affordable rental housing developments produced routinely by state and local governments. The legislation would change the basic Section 811 model, which for 30+ years has produced small group homes and single-population independent living facilities but no longer responds to the housing needs and choices of most people with disabilities, who prefer to live in housing that is truly integrated in local communities

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