NAMI CA Position on Housing
Housing is critical to recovery and must be available to individuals with mental illness. Individuals with serious mental illnesses need a wide array of options for permanent, decent, and affordable housing, based on an individual’s needs and choices.
Housing options may include group homes and independent living in apartments or houses. NAMI California reinforces and encourages living in the community whenever that option is available and suitable to an individual’s needs and choices. Funding mechanisms should support the individual’s choice, and should follow the individual with respect to all housing choices, including housing provided by caregivers.
Housing options should offer appropriate supportive services, including but not limited to: case management; tenancy support; clinical services; employment training and education; transportation; and crisis intervention. Housing should also be monitored by the appropriate licensing and enforcement agencies for quality, including cleanliness and safety.
Housing options must be provided across the continuum of care and include crisis residential facilities for adults and children. Additionally, hospitals and inpatient treatment facilities must ensure that all discharge plans include safe and secure housing. In no case should an individual with mental illness be discharged without a place to live.
No individual with a serious mental illness should lose his or her housing in the community during periods of inpatient treatment. Additionally, no individual should lose his or her ability to obtain housing assistance due to care provided by family members.
An equitable portion of federal and state housing funds should be designated for persons with serious mental illnesses and redirected to an integrated funding stream to finance the housing component of a unified system of treatment, services, and supports for persons with serious mental illnesses.
We oppose all housing statutes, regulations, and ordinances that discriminate by limiting fair and equal access for people with serious mental illnesses, such as special use permits, occupancy limitations, mandated dispersal of residences, or private restrictions included in covenants, deeds, or lease agreement. In addition, NAMI insists that persons with serious mental illnesses not be specifically singled out for living arrangements segregated from other populations in publicly supported housing.
In those cases where the independent living arrangement is shared by two or more persons, we believe it is preferable that the choice of “roommates” be left up to the residents. Providers and caregivers do not have the right to restrict such choices or determine compatibility based upon age, race, ethnic background, disability, religion, diagnosis, or other such criteria. In no cases should residents in independent living arrangements be expected to develop a custodial role unless they so
Individuals with mental illness should have the right to privacy, security, stability, and dignity in housing.
It should not be the family’s responsibility to provide housing for a family member who has a serious mental illness. For those willing to accept this responsibility, there must be adequate training and education about available benefits and options. No one with a mental illness should be housed in a nursing home or similar long-term care facility without an independent determination of a geriatric or other appropriate medical condition.
Community Voices and Discussions on Housing
Housing That Heals
Project Report by Teresa Pasquini and Lauren Rettagliata from two moms on a mission to find housing for their loved ones.
NAMI California Conference Sessions on Housing
“Legislative Achievements in Mental Health, Looking Ahead to 2021” session at the NAMI CA 2020 Conference. Discussion with Senator Scott Wiener on the need to create more housing for all residents in California.
“Housing at the Local Level” session at the NAMI CA 2020 Conference. Discussion with Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D. of the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health.
Housing Solutions For our Loved Ones: Housing Options for People with Mental Illness
Speakers: Scott Wiener, Senator, California State Senate; Ian Adamson, Executive Director, Mateo Lodge; Melinda Henning, Working Group, SOLUTIONS for Supportive Homes; Kelly Powers, Director, Hotel Council of San Francisco