NPR : People with Mental Illness, Who Needs Housing, Housing First npr.org
“..But in 1998, 283,800 people with mental illnesses were incarcerated in American jails or prisons – four times the number in state mental hospitals, according to the Department of Justice. “These days, the largest single provider of housing for people with severe mental illness is the criminal justice system,” says Sperling. ..
Today’s reality falls far short of the vision of four decades ago, when the deinstitutionalization movement was born. In theory, people were to move from mental hospitals into community mental health care systems, and be reintegrated into towns and neighborhoods where they’d get services and shelter. Several studies have shown the idea can work, and thousands of Americans with mental illness have benefited — but thousands more have failed to get adequate follow-up, treatment and assistance.
The supportive housing model also saves taxpayers money, experts say. Researchers at Berkeley University’s Goldman School of Public Policy examined the consequences of providing supportive housing for 250 people with mental illness. Before moving in, the participants had made frequent use of emergency rooms and hospitals, costing thousands of dollars per person annually. Once the people were placed in supportive housing, the study found a 58 percent decrease in emergency room visits, a corresponding drop in hospital stays, and virtual elimination of their use of residential mental health facilities. …
Approximately one-third of the nation’s homeless have a severe mental illness. Many others with mental illness end up living nomadically, moving among the homes of parents and other family members. Outside the family, group homes are the primary housing option for people with mental illness, but they often face stiff resistance from neighbors: “There are huge NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) battles about establishing a four-person home for people with depression,” says Allen. ..”
Our View: Maine government puts group homes at risk by cutting rates Posted December 11, 2016 pressherald.com
Families are right to be worried about the loss of services for adults with disabilities.
The Editorial Board
“..Mary Mayhew, Maine’s health and human services commissioner, wrote a Dec. 8 column in the Portland Press Herald, accusing the paper of “needlessly frighten(ing) families and vulnerable individuals,” because it reported how cuts to reimbursement rates were undermining the system of community-based services for people with developmental challenges. (“Maine used to be a leader in caring for adults with intellectual handicaps. What went wrong?” Dec. 4)..”
1 person, 1 home, millions of dollars By: Jeff Baillon Posted:Feb 02 2017 07:11PM CST fox9.com
“…One person lives in the three bedroom home and state employees come and go around the clock. There are at least three per shift and they are hired to support the needs of the lone occupant.
“They really don’t need a house this size for one person,” neighbor Bob Krahn said.
The Fox 9 Investigators discovered it is costing taxpayers almost a million dollars a year.
An 18-year-old man, whose initials are W.O., was placed in the home last summer.
W.O. is a ward of the state, has intellectual and developmental disabilities and a history of difficult behavior.
“Handled the right way it’s a good thing for a neighborhood because we need to see people of all abilities,” Lemoyne Corgard, a neighbor, said.”
Part 2: Alone and at risk in Minnesota’s group homes Story by Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt • Photos by David Joles • Star Tribune StarTribune.com NOVEMBER 9, 2015 — 12:00AM
Set up to be safe havens, some group homes for the disabled have become remote “prisons,” where residents are vulnerable to violence and neglect.
Minnesota’s reliance on group homes dates to the late 1970s, when it led the nation in shutting down large state hospitals that housed people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. The state encouraged small, private group homes as a more humane and cost-effective alternative, and subsidized them through Medicaid and other programs…”
And though group homes were meant for people needing 24-hour care, such as patients with severe mental illnesses, many accept just about anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability. Records show that even clients who need just basic assistance with daily activities — like cooking meals or catching the bus — can wind up in group homes that cost up to $80,000 per person per year….
GROUP HOMES OVERPAID Posted on Jun 30, 2015 11:00am PDT nyrealestatelawblog.com
“.. The state’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office (DDSO) skirted state procurement laws for more than 1,400 purchases worth more than $1 million, gave one vendor an unfair advantage in obtaining the state’s business and overpaid for hundreds of household items, according to an audit recently released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“The state’s procurement process is intended to ensure fair competition, guard against favoritism, and protect taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “By failing to follow the state’s procurement requirements, Finger Lakes DDSO wasted taxpayer dollars and gave an unfair advantage to one vendor. This cannot continue, and our recommendations should be implemented immediately.”
The Finger Lakes DDSO is responsible for coordinating services for approximately 1,500 persons with developmental disabilities living in 150 group homes across eight counties. Employees at each group home routinely purchase food and household items necessary to keep the homes operational.
The DDSO purchased food and household items through a centralized contract with Palmer Distributing until the contract expired in June 2012. Thereafter, the DDSO should have purchased items that met their needs first from preferred sources (which are established in state law), then from other centralized contracts, and, last, through a formal competitive process to ensure a fair procurement…”
Congress to Consider Scaling Down Group Homes for Troubled Children by Joaquin Sapien ProPublica, May 20, 2015, 11:47 a.m. propublica.org
At a hearing in Washington, a renewed call for addressing the violence and neglect that plagues group homes for foster youth.
“..”There is tremendous momentum and truly bipartisan support for this right now, so hopefully we’re at a real turning point,” said Rob Geen, director of policy reform and advocacy for the Casey Foundation. “There are far too many children being separated from their families and being placed in what is available instead of what is best for them. Now we have an agreement that there is a problem and a growing consensus on how to fix it.”
According to the report, 40 percent of children living in group homes don’t have a diagnosis that warrants such a placement. The report suggests that children are often sent to the homes because there is nowhere else for them to go…
Grüber, the former foster child who testified at the hearing, said she certainly would have preferred staying with a family member as opposed to living in a group home for two years.
In an interview, she told ProPublica that when she was first removed from her biological parents’ home at age 15, she was placed with her uncle and his three sons in a three-bedroom home. She wanted to stay there. But she said that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families moved her to a homeless shelter and then into a foster home based on a technicality: that there weren’t enough bedrooms for all the children living in her uncle’s home.
“If I had stayed with my uncle, I would’ve had more stability. It would’ve been so much better to feel more involved with my family. My uncle is very involved in the church. He’s really strict, but I think that would’ve been helpful to me. I needed that structure,” Grüber said….
Kari Sisson, executive director for the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, told ProPublica that Australia closed its residential programs in the 1990s because foster care was cheaper. In time, she said, foster parents got overwhelmed and quit. Many youngsters ended up homeless or in jail. And Australia had to reopen the homes with more intensive therapeutic services in the mid-2000s.
“The conversation is fair, but it’s not informed,” she said. “I worry that they are making decisions that will seriously affect children who need therapeutic residential treatment. I’ve been a foster parent for many years and there are a lot of kids in the system that can’t live in my house, because it’s not safe for us and it’s not safe for the community. They need a lot more intensive care than a foster parent can offer. It’s very challenging.”
Sisson was not called to testify…”
Nonprofits reap generous perks April 11, 2005|By JOHN B. O’DONNELL AND JONATHAN D. ROCKOFF articles.baltimoresun.com
Children in private group homes may be shortchanged in care, but the owners can profit handsomely
“..Despite all the gaps in financial accountability, state officials say they don’t plan any major changes. DHR Secretary McCabe says that while department auditors should look at group homes’ financial statements, inspectors lack the expertise to ferret out improper spending. “Our licensing unit is not necessarily designed to do that,” he said.
Diane Coughlin, a health department official, also argues that inspectors lack the skills to police inappropriate spending, even if limits were put on salaries, rent and other non-care items.
“We’d never be able to enforce it,” said Coughlin, director of the Developmental Disabilities Administration, a health department unit that has licensed 35 group home companies with 115 facilities.
“But having said that, do we expect people to spend tax dollars wisely? You’re darn tootin’ we do.”
About the series
In an investigation of state oversight of group homes going back a decade, The Sun found that:
Mistreatment of children has gone unpunished.
People with criminal convictions can – and do – work at group homes.
Taxpayers’ money is often wasted on poor care, denying youths a range of services.
Maryland subsidizes high salaries and perks…”
Reaping Millions in Nonprofit Care for Disabled By RUSS BUETTNERAUG. 2, 2011 nytimes.com
“..Medicaid money created quite a nice life for the Levy brothers from Flatbush, Brooklyn.
The brothers, Philip and Joel, earned close to $1 million a year each as the two top executives running a Medicaid-financed nonprofit organization serving the developmentally disabled.
They each had luxury cars paid for with public money. And when their children went to college, they could pass on the tuition bills to their nonprofit group.
Philip H. Levy went as far as charging the organization $50,400 for his daughter’s living expenses one year when she attended graduate school at New York University. That money paid not for a dorm room, but rather it helped her buy a co-op apartment in Greenwich Village.
The rise of the Levy brothers, from scruffy bearded social workers in the 1970s to millionaires with homes in the Hamptons, Sutton Place and Palm Beach Gardens, reveals much about New York’s system for caring for the developmentally disabled — those with conditions like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism…”
State Seeks To Move Homeless From Hotel Rooms To Group Homes Rupa Shenoy
The New England Center for Investigative Reporting February 23, 2014 news.wgbh.org
“..Sixteen months ago Espada’s family became homeless, and she applied to the state for help. But Massachusetts has no room left for homeless families. The state’s 2,000 shelters filled up during the recession as parents who lost their jobs, got foreclosed on, got sick, or just couldn’t earn enough became homeless along with their children. So, like roughly 2,000 other families, Espada is living in a hotel paid for by the state…”
“..Published on Sep 22, 2016
The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), is working across Ireland to reduce disadvantage. SICAP is open to people and groups from different walks of life.
• Are you looking for a job or want to improve your skills?
• Could you benefit from an education or training opportunity?
• Are you in a community group which is working for changes locally?
If yes to any of these, SICAP can help you! To empower yourself or your community, find out more at http://www.pobal.ie..”
What abilities do you have?..Don’t focus on your “dis-abilities, but your “abilities”! goodnewseverybodycom.wordpress.com
Health: Mental-How to “fight” mental illness? goodnewshealthandfitness.wordpress.com
This is such a BIG on-going social issue, so all the article above that I found are just “some” of the challenges and have yet to re”search” the “positives” going on with group homes. Feel free to share any (both negative and bad)..