There are a complex array of housing options for people with psychiatric disabilities, varying in terms of housing configurations, the level of services provided, and the relationship between housing and services. Leff and colleagues(2009) provide this typology to distinguish among models: (1) Residential care and treatment model housing; which includes board-and-care homes, group homes, halfway homes, community residences, and cooperative apartments; (2) Residential continuum model housing; residents graduate from more restrictive to less restrictive environments as they progress or become “housing ready” (3) Permanent supported models; residents are immediately given permanent housing in independent apartments with wraparound services as needed. The Housing First model has further developed the permanent supported model by “unbundling” housing and services, offering residents housing not contingent on their participation in services or sobriety.
Although research has demonstrated that overall housing contributes to residential stability and mental health recovery, still little is known about how these models differ. This symposium will explore different housing models from the perspective of consumers, providers, and the community. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the studies examine housing models along different dimensions, concluding with a discussion of their implications for future housing policy.
The first study focuses on the community response to the placement of group homes and apartment from both community and provider perspectives. Using primarily quantitative methods, the study explores the NIMBY phenomenon, which has been a persistent barrier to community integration. The second study compares the neighborhood characteristics of two types of housing within the Residential Continuum model. Using GIS methodology, the study measures safety, residential stability, social distress, and diversity among neighborhoods of congregate housing and apartment-type residences and examines their effect on resident outcomes.
The third study compares how providers from the Residential Continuum model and the Housing First model view housing. This qualitative study explores front-line providers' attitudes to housing and how they evaluate their effectiveness. The fourth study uses quantitative methods to compare the perspectives of people in a Housing First program to people in their residential communities. The two populations are compared with regard to life satisfaction, neighborhood quality, and community integration.
Finally, the discussant, a leading mental health services researcher, will synthesize findings across the four papers to highlight research and policy implications related to housing and services for persons with psychiatric disabilities. Larger structural issues pertaining to housing availability, service integration and stigma will be discussed as well as ‘micro' factors such as consumer psychosocial functioning and provider-consumer relationships that can profoundly affect trajectories of recovery.