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The DHS Adult Mental Health Division, in partnership with Minnesota Housing, is implementing a new pilot program to serve people with a serious mental illness who are ready for discharge from Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center but lack options for housing. The Bridges Regional Treatment Center program is an extension of the Bridges rental assistance program DHS and Minnesota Housing have administered since 1991 for people with serious mental illness.
Individuals with serious mental illness comprise 55 percent or 3,250 of the adult homeless population, according to a 2009 Wilder Research statewide survey of homelessness in Minnesota. In the previous two years, 39 percent of those individuals had received outpatient mental health care, while 11 percent had been in a residential mental health treatment facility.
“The survey highlights the need to ensure that people with mental illness leaving treatment have access to housing and to needed mental health care,” said Cynthia Godin, director of the DHS Adult Mental Health Division. “Our goal with the pilot programs for Anoka-Metro patients, as with other Bridges efforts, is to foster the integration of people with serious mental illness into their communities.”
To be eligible for the new pilot program, Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center patients must have significant or complex barriers to accessing and retaining housing. In addition to serious mental illness, these barriers may include chemical dependency, lack of financial resources, homelessness, criminal history and other issues that contribute to poor housing histories.
The pilot programs provide temporary rental assistance as well as housing search and advocacy services that will help transition individuals from the Anoka facility to permanent supportive housing.
The initial four pilots are targeted to serve 56 households in the seven-county metropolitan area. Three other pilots in Greater Minnesota will target 21 households across 32 counties.