Our housing programs have one goal: to help people live an independent, productive, and satisfying life in the community.
It began simply enough: in the mid-70’s, Unity Park House opened as a community residence, where people and staff lived together. It was a time when people with mental illness were being ‘deinstitutionalized’ for a community-based form of care.
In a community residence, there is staff: the day-to-day rehabilitative and support activities performed in a community residence are vital for people who face the daily challenges of living with a psychiatric disability.
Later, Supportive Housing came about as a national response to the lack of affordable housing for people living in poverty. A combination of housing and services, it is more customizable, depending on a person’s needs. Like a community residence, supportive housing recognizes self-determination, emphasizes choice, and allows individuals to remain on a permanent basis, if they chose. It is an evidence-based approach to treating and preventing chronic housing instability, an issue that is about much more than just a roof over your head.
Supportive housing is a cost-effective way to help people live independently. Generally, a person who might benefit from supportive housing is considered vulnerable due to serious mental illness, trauma/abuse history, substance use, a chronic medical conditions like HIV/AIDS, or a combination of factors.
Supportive housing is permanent and affordable: residents are tenants who hold leases, paying no more than a third of their income towards rent and utility costs. Supportive housing units, often apartments in a building or in scattered sites, are managed by nonprofit organizations like Unity House, who are accountable to their funders.
Supportive housing can play an important role in neighborhood renewal, as is the case in Hillside North in Troy, where neighbors worked with Unity House, TRIP and other partners to create new housing stock, replacing vacant buildings and filling in empty lots. It’s a way to ‘re-knit’ a neighborhood and bring affordable housing stock on the market, while improving community safety simply by having more people and services in the vicinity.
No matter the living situation, Unity House’s housing programs and array of support services- which cover everything from transportation to a doctor’s appointment, to help getting vet care for a beloved pet- strive to honor a person’s inherent dignity. Guided by principles of Housing First and non-judgement, we are able to help people get their most basic need met in a dignified way, which is also one that promotes success and recovery.
If you’d like to learn more about Unity House’s Housing, Support, and Case Management Services, please reach out. We are fortunate to have staff with areas of expertise who can share their knowledge on a variety of topics related to housing for people in need.