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Integrated Housing & Services Unit

 
The Division of Behavioral Health is working to create an integrated behavioral health housing resource within the DHSS system to develop supportive housing and housing opportunities for consumers struggling with mental illness and/or substance abuse. This newly expanded unit within DBH will consist of four, full-time staff and focus on wrap-around services grants with an aggressive focus on complex behavioral health issues and co-occurring homelessness using SAMHSA’s Permanent Supportive Housing model. Current priority projects include development of Assertive Community Treatment and Intensive Case Management grant programs targeting homeless and highly vulnerable individuals. Grants will use the Housing First philosophy1 by offering housing with no pre-conditions of sobriety or treatment compliance. Other projects include development of a statewide rental subsidy partnership program with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and continuing a strong partnership with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness to expand permanent supportive housing opportunities.
 

Current Events / Announcements
 

4/1/15 - Alaska Awarded HUD 811 Program for 200 Units of Permanent Supportive Housing

DHSS is pleased to announce a successful partnership application with AHFC for the new HUD 811 program for development of 200 units of Permanent Supportive Housing. The goals of the 811 program are to create more efficient and effective uses of housing and health care resources and to substantially increase integrated affordable rental housing units for extremely low income persons with disabilities within existing, new, or rehabilitated multifamily properties with a mix of incomes and disability status. Please visit the DHSS/AHFC 811 Permanent Supportive Housing Program page for more information.
 

4/1/15 - Statewide Strategic Planning around Supportive Housing with the Technical Assistance Collaborative

The Alaska Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) is embarking on a statewide Strategic Supportive Housing Planning process. The intent of this plan is to establish a list of activities for DBH and its partners to follow over the next three years  to increase supportive housing opportunities for Alaskans served by DBH. To facilitate the planning process, DBH and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority have engaged the Technical Assistance Collaborative, a national non-profit consulting and technical assistance firm and recognized leader in the fields at the intersection of affordable housing, healthcare and human services policy and systems. TAC  provides consultation and technical assistance on affordable housing and behavioral health policy, system design and implementation, Medicaid and other financing strategies. Specifically, TAC will develop a three year Strategic Supportive Housing Plan, and provide consultation and technical assistance to maximize funding to support individuals in supportive housing.
 
To ensure that the community has the opportunity to participate in the planning process - to offer input, expertise, and recommendations for consideration, DBH has been reaching out to key stakeholders to form four workgroups around 1) housing utilization and maximization, 2) eligibility and allocation, 3) service needs and realignment, and 4) workforce development. These workgroups will meet 2-3 times during spring of 2015 with the strategic plan created by July 1, 2015.
 
If you would like to provide input into development of this plan please contact Sherrie Hinshaw at contact information below.
 

1/15/15 – Permanent Supportive Housing Grant Awards in Anchorage

The Division is pleased to announce the award of two Permanent Supportive Housing grants to serve the Chronically Homeless population in Anchorage for the period of Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.  Services were split into two categories based on intensity of services and the needs of the homeless population: Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and Intensive Case Management (ICM).  For more information on this project, please visit our ICM/ACT webpage​.

12/23/14 - New Housing Subsidy Program

DHSS is pleased to announce a new program in partnership with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the “Moving Home Voucher Program.” This program allows for DHSS management of approximately 150 rental subsidies for individuals receiving DHSS-funded services. Applicants will be assisted through DHSS-funded providers to access the program. Please see the Moving Home Voucher Program page for further detail and forms.
 

Resources & Links

  • Of Interest:
    • 360 North Special Projects: “A Roof”; contains stories, local documentary films, and town hall discussions on homelessness
    • Kaiser Family Foundation: Early Impacts of Medicaid Expansion for the Homeless Population (Issue Brief)
    • Creating a Medicaid Supportive Housing Services Benefit: A Framework

Contact Information

 

Brita Bishop, (Acting) Behavioral Health Quality Assurance Section Administrator
State of Alaska DHSS; Division of Behavioral Health
P.O. Box 110620
Juneau, AK 99811-0629
Direct Number: (907) 465-4994
General Office Number: (907) 465-3370
Email: brita.bishop@alaska.gov

Susan Musante, Office of Integrated Housing Supervisor
3601 C Street, Ste. 878
Anchorage AK 99503
Phone: (907) 269-5064
Fax: (907) 269-3786
Email: susan.musante@alaska.gov

Doug Lindsay, Supported Housing Specialist
3601 C Street, Ste. 878
Anchorage AK 99503
Phone: (907) 269-3695
Fax: (907) 269-3623
Email: douglas.lindsay@alaska.gov

Beth Wilson, Supported Employment Specialist
3601 C Street, Ste. 934
Anchorage AK 99503
Phone: (907) 269-3740
Fax: (907) 269-3786
Email: beth.wilson@alaska.gov

 
Guiding Practice: Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing
“The solution to the problem of chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing, which is housing coupled with supportive services. With appropriate supports, permanent housing can serve as a foundation for rehabilitation, therapy, and improved health. Research shows that, for chronically homeless individuals, stable housing is an essential component of successful recovery. Permanent Supportive Housing is a cost-effective intervention where stably housed individuals are far less likely to draw on expensive public services. They are also less likely to end up in homeless shelters, emergency rooms, or jails, none of which are effective interventions for chronic homelessness. Public costs – whether local, state or federal – are therefore reduced.”
(National Alliance to End Homelessness)

Housing first is a demonstrated best practice, considered by the United States Interagency Council on the Homeless to be the most effective approach to ending chronic homelessness. Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing works to minimize barriers to housing access. “Traditionally, many housing providers have required people experiencing homelessness to demonstrate ‘housing readiness’ either by achieving sobriety or entering treatment before offering permanent housing. The housing readiness approach can lead to people with relatively fewer needs accessing service-intensive housing, while people with more complex problems remain in shelters or on the streets.” (USICH Housing First)
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