Locating affordable, appropriate housing for those with mental illness in Ohio can be a difficult process. Although many housing options and facilities may have extremely long wait-lists, there are low-income apartments, Adult Care Facilities (ACFs), supportive living communities and other privately and/or publicly owned subsidized living arrangements that are available in most areas of the state if you know where to look.
A few places to start:
- If you or your loved one is already involved with a local mental health agency, talk to your case manager (or someone else on your team). Many agencies have a person or department designated to help clients find appropriate housing.
- If you or your loved one is not currently involved with a local mental health agency, contact your local Mental Health Board. Most Boards have a housing specialist who will be able to provide families and consumers with information on what is available in your county. This link will allow you to search for your county’s Mental Health Board. http://oacbha.org/about-oacbha/county-board-directory/
- If you or your loved one is able to live independently, but does not earn enough to cover their rent, you may also want to contact your local Metropolitan Housing Authority to apply for a public housing voucher; search for your local authority: http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/pha/contacts/states/oh.cfm
Additionally, the following websites are starting points for those searching for housing options.
- Ohio Housing Locator As a part of ConnectMeOhio.org, the Ohio Housing Locator helps people with disabilities find housing options throughout the state. On this site, a person can search by zip code, county, city, or statewide to see what is available. http://www.ohiohousinglocator.org/
- Ohio Department of Health Adult Care Facility (ACF) Finder This website, http://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/eid/Provider_Search.aspx, assists consumers and family members in locating ACFs in Ohio that have been licensed by the Ohio Department of Health. After clicking on the link, choose “Adult Care Facility” under “Provider Type,” then choose the county in which you would like to search. Finally, use the drop down menu next to the word “Status” and choose “Active” for the most up-to-date information.
- Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHIO) The COHHIO Directory of Services lists more than 900 nonprofit housing agencies and services that help prevent homelessness in Ohio. Organized alphabetically by county, this quick reference guide provides user-friendly information to help people avoid homelessness and find affordable housing. http://www.cohhio.org/info_odsa.php
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction: Ohio Reentry Resource Center M.U.S.C.L.E. (Making Use of Services Can Lead to Empowerment) is a centralized guide that provides assistance in locating community resources and information to foster strong, safe communities. The Reentry Resource Guide is a collection of county by county fact sheets that provides vital information to assist offenders’ reentry into society. Use this link to choose your county and scroll down to the section titled “Housing Assistance”. http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/reentry_resource.htm
Finally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a tool kit for mental health consumer tenants. They have designed eight tools to support the concept of Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals with psychiatric disorders. The complete tool kit is available at their website:
NAMI Ohio Housing Toolkit Now Available
For some individuals with a mental health disorder, finding, securing and retaining suitable housing can be challenging and even overwhelming. With the support of the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI Ohio) has developed a housing toolkit to assist in this process. The housing toolkit is based on a national model developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Like the SAMHSA toolkit, it is designed to support the concept of Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals with mental health disorders who reside in Ohio.
With flexible supports, people with mental health disorders can live in the housing of their choice, just like any other member of the community. Sometimes they just need a little help to find a place, rent or buy it, move in, and keep up with everything. In some Permanent Supportive Housing living arrangements, people live in units reserved for the program’s tenants. In others, the program helps people finding, qualifying for, and keeping housing on the open market. All tenants have access to case management, assistance with daily activities, conflict resolution, and crisis response services that help them keep their housing. Tenants also receive help in becoming fully participating members of the community, through assistance with socialization and seeking employment. The toolkit includes a variety of resources available in Ohio to assist in finding all types of housing along the housing continuum from group homes to having a place of one’s own. View or download the NAMI Ohio Housing Toolkit for Individuals with Mental Health Disorders:
NAMI Ohio Consumer Housing Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who completed the NAMI Consumer Housing Survey over the last two months. This project that is being funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health with funds from the federal Olmstead grant is designed to identify what factors contribute to and what factors interfere with successful housing outcomes for consumers of mental health services. The survey was available on-line and also in hard-copy in an effort to reach as many consumers as possible. Our special thanks to Adult Care Facility Operators, the Consumer Operated Services directors, the Ohio Empowerment Coalition, and others for their help in distributing the survey and helping consumers complete them.
We received over 130 completed surveys, and the preliminary results are quite positive. Of those responding, 68% either owned or rented their own homes. Well over half (54%) found their homes either on their own or with the help of a friend or relative. Over 69% felt their current housing arrangements were fine for them and provided adequate supports, while nearly 17% were dissatisfied with their current housing or its supports. Despite this, 74% said they were capable of living independently if they had the appropriate supports. On average, respondents identified more than three needed additional supports. It was encouraging to learn that nearly 81% of respondents reported feeling safe in their homes (the highest rating on any of the items) while 12% did not feel safe. Similarly, the majority of respondents reported that their present housing is affordable (76%), and they are satisfied with the physical condition of their homes (71%).
Building upon the survey results, within the next year NAMI Ohio will be holding focus groups with mental health consumers to get a clearer view of what works to support successful housing outcomes and what barriers must be overcome. NAMI Ohio will attempt to include consumers in the focus groups who have not been successful in locating housing to find out what barriers they may be experiencing.