Raising awareness about the people we serve and the issues they face is part of our mission.
Advocating is especially important when it comes to housing, which brings to mind the Bring It Home Campaign, a coalition urging New York State to adequately fund community-based housing programs for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Full recovery and community reintegration depends on stable housing opportunities, as Unity House’s Housing Support Services and Case Management programs well know.
The Bring it Home Campaign is made up of many partners: community-based mental health housing providers like Unity House, mental health advocates, faith leaders, and consumers and their families. Through education and advocacy, Bring it Home is working to bring better funding for better care to New York.
When Unity House’s CEO, Chris Burke, was recently invited to participate in a video project for the Bring it Home campaign, he jumped at the chance. You should be able to see his part if you follow #BringItHome on social media.
- 40% – 70% of funding in New York State mental health housing, depending on program type, has been lost to inflation.
- 40,000 Mental health community-based housing units are in jeopardy due to years of inadequate funding.
The problem with insufficient funding is the ripple effect: for Unity House’s programs it might mean higher staff turnover and quicker burnout, resulting in higher administrative burdens with fewer resources to address this cost. For managers who oversee programs, it means churn among staff and consumers. And, perhaps most crucial of all, for direct care professionals it means the pay is too low, resulting in the need for a second job or forgoing needs. The work is challenging and staff should not have to work at a second job to make ends meet.
Why it’s Important and What You Can Do
You can urge your representatives to Bring It Home so that people living with persistent, sometimes serious, mental illness have housing that meets their need. When we look at adequately funded mental health housing, we see that it’s less expensive: 40% – 94% less expensive, depending on housing model & institution, to use community housing versus psychiatric institutions, other hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, jails and prisons.
New York State’s Department of Health’s Medicaid Redesign Team’s Special Needs Housing Pilots show a:
- 15% reduction in Medicaid spending
- 40% reduction in inpatient admissions
- 26% reduction in ER use
- 44% reduction in inpatient rehab
- 27% reduction in psychiatric inpatient admissions
You can support those who provide housing opportunities. What programs might be in your area that you’d like to help out? A gift of your time, your goods, or your funds could help make a difference.
“Integration works so much better than institutionalization, we know that. We also know that institutionalization is very expensive.”
— Ralph Fasano, Immediate Past-President of the Association for Community Living
A shout of thanks to the many coalition partners who never stop advocating for some of the most vulnerable among us.
For more information on how you can help effect positive change, contact us at Unity House at (518) 274-2607 x4133 or contact our community partner and coalition builder, the Alliance for Community Living.