Thursday, September 26, 2013

Housing for the Mentally Ill

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at some of the housing challenges facing the mentally ill, many of whom have criminal records:

For many people with serious mental illness, the specter of homelessness is just around the corner. Housing can be as important to recovery as medication, yet the mental-health system struggles to meet the demand for safe, affordable housing. To make matters worse, some clients' behavioral problems make then unwanted tenants.

[P]ublic housing authorities, which provide subsidized housing to the poor, routinely deny admission to felons. He said clients with mental illness might get around that barrier by arguing that they're entitled to a special accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ms. Ricci of Supportive Services runs Stone Harbor, a 12-bed home for offenders with mental illness and drug and alcohol problems in Beaver County. She said her clients are "high profile, in the news a lot" because problems with impulse control repeatedly get them into trouble. Without Stone Harbor, she said, some would sit in jail because they have nowhere else to go.

Steve Clowney

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