May is Mental Health Awareness Month and while it’s crucial to acknowledge the relationship between mental health and homelessness, first we must understand how common mental illness is in the US. Millions of people are affected by mental health concerns each year. Results from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 22% of adults in the US have a mental illness and 1 in 20 adults have a Serious Mental Illness (SMI). While US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data from the same year found that 21% of people experiencing homelessness have a serious mental illness.
To be able to positively affect and support these families and individuals, HOM staff are provided training in trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, and cultural competency. HOM is dedicated to housing persons with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and General Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (GMH/SUD) using a Housing First approach. Housing First prioritizes access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter and does not require people experiencing homelessness to participate in mental health treatment prior to obtaining housing or to retain housing. In addition, voluntary wrap-around services are offered by providers to assist people transitioning out of homelessness including mental health treatment and support services that are accessible, affordable, and culturally responsive.
“For over 20 years, […] HOM, Inc. have been leaders in the housing industry supporting those with mental health needs to access and maintain housing through member-centered approaches using innovative and proven operational and technological solutions. […] HOM were pioneers of the “Housing First” approach in their housing program operations dating back to the concept’s beginnings,” Minnie Andrade, Plan President, Molina Healthcare of Arizona.
Increasing awareness, advocating for change, and providing Housing First to vulnerable populations is essential. We can prevent homelessness and improve the mental health of Arizonan communities. In turn, creating a more equitable society in which everyone has access to the resources and support they need to thrive. Dedication to building communities where the promise of home is a reality for everyone makes futures brighter, and communities stronger.