Obtaining independent housing with access to services within the community is the primary goal and a fundamental value shared by people with mental illnesses. Having one’s own home – whether it is an apartment, a furnished room or a house – is the cornerstone of independence for people. With stable, permanent housing, people with mental illnesses are able to achieve other important life goals including improved health, education, job training and employment. However, access to affordable housing that is also convenient to service for people with mental illness is becoming increasingly difficult. Public mental health agencies and the mental health community in general may be able to assist in gaining access to housing that may include the following:
Community Mental Health Contract Homes or Community Living Facilities – These homes are generally associated with the Community Health Centers in some way and offer group activities as well as rehabilitative services. They are generally considered transitional and are often reserved for those being discharged from state hospitals or community hospitals that are under contract with Health Center.
Assisted Living Facility (ALF) – These homes are licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to provide 24-hour care and supervision of residents. Activities and rehabilitation services are limited in these housing settings.
Independent Living with Community Mental Health Outreach Services – Residents may live separately in rooms or apartments or may share an apartment with others. Intermittent supervision and outreach services are provided by community mental health center staff or an agency under contract to the community mental health center. Rental subsidies may be available through the Federal Section 8 rental subsidy program.
Independent Living Alone / With Family – This arrangement works for persons who are fairly self-sufficient. If there is a Center for Independent Living in the community, it may be helpful with housing arrangements or in securing the assistance needed for independent living.
Nursing Homes – These facilities are designed for people who need round the clock care. Generally there are other medical problems in addition to the mental illness in order to qualify, or the diagnosis is a form of dementia. There are other transitional, temporary and permanent housing options available in different communities throughout Florida.
The Alternative Family Program – The Alternative Family Program is a residential program that provides care within licensed and certified homes for adults and seniors with severe and persistent mental illness.
Adult Foster Care Homes and Caregivers – Caregivers in the foster-care homes are responsible for the care, support and well-being of the client’s and are recruited directly by the program. Adults placed in these homes are encouraged to feel like a member of the family, participating in family activities and responsibilities.