DOJ references a 2012 settlement between the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the state’s role in providing housing opportunities for individuals with serious mental illness.
The settlement came after a 2010 complaint by Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) that alleged that individuals in North Carolina with serious mental illness had more opportunities to live in adult care homes or institutional settings than in smaller, more individualized settings.
In the settlement, the state of North Carolina agreed to create a comprehensive plan to identify or create 3,000 “supportive housing” slots for individuals currently living in institutional settings who wanted to exercise their choice to live in a different place. The plan is known as Transitions to Community Living.
Jessica Keith, MA, was hired to oversee the effort for DHHS. Prior to coming to North Carolina last fall, Keith worked in several capacities and settings in the mental health system in Pennsylvania, including state hospitals, and then assisting in the closure of hospitals and transitioning individuals into the community. She was also a member of the leadership team of the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services with the responsibility of the development of more than $100,000,000 worth of permanent supportive housing.
“Our requirement this year is to place 100 individuals across the state in supportive housing by July,” Keith said. “This is a collaborative effort among numerous divisions in DHHS and our community partners. As of March 15th we have four individuals living in apartments through the settlement and have approved an additional 13 housing slots. Coastal Care has really been a leader among the LME/MCOs for transitioning individuals.”
The initiative will serve the following population groups:
- Individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness who reside in an adult care home determined by the state to be an Institution for Mental Disease (“IMD”);
- Individuals with a diagnosis of serious and persistent mental illness who are residing in adult care homes licensed for at least 50 beds and in which 25 percent or more of the resident population has a mental illness;
- Individuals with a diagnosis of serious and persistent mental illness who are residing in adult care homes licensed for 20 to 49 beds and in which 40 percent or more of the resident population has a mental illness;
- Individuals with SPMI who are or will be discharged from a state psychiatric hospital who have either been in a state hospital more than 90 days or who have had three or more admissions in one year and who are homeless or have unstable housing; and
- Individuals diverted from entry into adult care homes pursuant to the Pre-admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) process.
Learn more about Transitions to Community Living at www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/providers/dojsettlement/index.htm