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TA Available to Strengthen State Medicaid-Housing Agency Partnerships

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), working with national organizations, have announced  an exciting, new opportunity for states to enhance collaboration between health and housing agencies to successfully maximize the reach and impact of supportive housing.

The Administration is encouraging the cost-effective, evidence-based solution known as supportive housing to end chronic homelessness in 2017 by coordinating housing resources with Medicaid-covered housing-related services.  It recognizes that access to affordable, stable housing and coordinated and comprehensive health care services will improve outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries and lower costs for states and communities.

The new initiative is designed to assist states with foundations for partnerships already in place to address two key challenges: 1) increasing the supply and availability of supportive housing stock targeted at low income persons with complex health needs, and 2) determining how to use Medicaid to cover services needed for achieving stable health and housing outcomes.

Participating states will form teams comprised of chief executives or leaders of their Medicaid, housing, behavioral health, and human services agencies to engage in an intensive, six-month peer-to-peer learning and action-planning process. Some of the goals will be: strengthen interagency, cross-sector partnerships and planning; identify, coordinate, and leverage Federal and local resources for housing (rental assistance and capital); and drilling down on Medicaid benefits, services and approaches for coordinating behavioral health resources to provide housing-related, supportive, and health services.

To apply, state Medicaid, housing, and behavioral health agencies should work collaboratively to complete the Expression of Interest by December 1, 2015.  The announcement was made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of coordinated program support being offered through their Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program. Current state recipients of HUD’s Section 811 Project-Rental Assistance grants or SAMHSA’s Cooperative Agreement for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals are encouraged to support their state Medicaid agency to apply.

TAC, CSH, the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), and the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) have released a joint Alert applauding the new effort and urging states to apply for this important opportunity.