ATLANTA - More than a hundred people with mental illness in Georgia began receiving supported housing in the past year thanks to a push by the state to build more community-based services. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) provided 118 people in 31 counties with help finding and affording housing, making it possible for them to live independently in the community and avoid hospitalization or homelessness. The agency gave an average $475 in rental assistance and an average $2,300 in bridge funding to participants, the latter helping pay for deposits, furniture, and other necessities of starting up a household. By July 1, 2015, the state has committed to helping at least 2,000 people with mental illness find and afford housing.
“Our goal is to help people with mental illness remain independent in the community and sustain their own recoveries,” said DBHDD Commissioner Frank Shelp, MD, MPH. “It’s nearly impossible to do that when you don’t have a stable place to live. By providing supported housing, we’re helping people with mental illness avoid ending up in hospitals, in jails, or on the street.”
Last year, Georgia committed to placing 100 people with mental illness in supported housing by July 1, 2011. It exceeded that goal by 18% and, with another 164 people already in the process of looking for housing, is well on its way to reaching next year’s goal of assisting 500 people total. DBHDD’s focus is currently on helping those people with severe and persistent mental illness that might otherwise have to resort to a state psychiatric hospital or other public services.
Georgia Counties with new supported housing participants in FY 2011:
Appling, Baldwin, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, Dekalb, Dougherty, Floyd, Fulton, Hall, Henry, Houston, Lamar, Lowndes, Muscogee, Newton, Pickens, Polk, Richmond, Spalding, Sumter, Thomas, Troup, Upson, Walker, Walton, White, Worth.