A stable and safe place to live is a critical element to recovery for individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness. “Home” is one of the four major dimensions identified by SAMHSA that support a life in recovery.
In addition, safe and affordable housing is a social determinant of health highlighted in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2020 program.
She has served as the director of SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) and provides leadership, training, and support to other federal homelessness programs.
“People with mental illness are more likely than the general population to experience homelessness or housing instability. In fact, in 2016, one in five people experiencing homelessness had SMI. There are many factors that contribute to this, but one stands out more than any others, according to Ann Denton. If there is a single fact that behavioral health providers should know about housing instability, it is that anyone living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—the income that many people with SMI depend on—is at serious risk of homelessness.”
“This is just a grim economic reality,” says Denton. “Regardless of where an individual is in their recovery journey, unstable housing is a poverty issue above all else.”
Suggestions for “What You Can Do” from SAMHSA include:
Understand Individuals’ Housing and Financial Situations