Since 2004, Alameda County has been experiencing a decline in available housing for people with serious mental health issues (also referred to as SMI). During 2015–2017 alone, homelessness grew by 40%. Of those who become homeless, 41% report that an emotional or psychiatric condition impacts their ability to obtain housing.
Stable housing provides the foundation upon which people build their lives. Without a safe place to live, achieving good health is almost impossible. For people living with SMI, stable and supportive housing is crucial to improving mental and physical health. Both of which help to increase the overall quality of life and wellbeing.
Having a safe and secure place to live is a vital part of wellness and recovery.
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The lack of affordable housing complicates support and recovery. Currently, after discharge homeless individuals receiving mental health care are assigned to whatever is available (often temporary). As such, these individuals are likely to continue to be homeless, and may not be able to continue mental health services.
With a land trust model*, the individual’s home is permanent, familiar, and conducive to continuing mental health services.
The County is proposing to use a community land trust model to bring permanent affordability and community control to help ease its housing crisis for SMI consumers whose income is up to two times the federal poverty level.
A non-profit Supportive Housing Community Land Alliance (CLA) will be developed by a Project Management Team with guidance from a community-based Advisory Committee. Once incorporated, a Board of Directors comprised of equal thirds:
- mental health consumers/family members
- community members
- public sector representatives with experience in housing, SMI and supportive housing services.