Affordable Housing For People with Serious Mental Illness

Affordable Housing For People with Serious Mental Illness

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) plans to implement an increase in rental assistance to individuals with serious mental illness.

During their March 14, 2024 meeting, the FCRHA’s commissioners approved a $20 million agreement with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to increase access to supportive, affordable rental housing options for individuals with serious mental illness. The additional funding is expected to help prevent homelessness among individuals with serious mental illness, as well as reduce census at state psychiatric hospitals.

“Increasing access to affordable housing reduces homelessness. To be successful, we need to think about the individual’s whole life and what is needed to get them back on their feet. That is why this funding is so important – it provides critical support services along with rental assistance needed for people to be successful in their new home,” said Tom Fleetwood, Director, Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development.

Beginning in May 2024, the approved Memorandum of Agreement between the FCRHA and DBHDS will:Add 300 new supportive rental assistance vouchers available to Fairfax County residents over three years; Create three new staff positions at the FCRHA to operate the program.

Through a separate partnership with Pathways Homes, 50 participants will receive critical supportive services such as psychiatry, case management, and skill-building services with psychosocial rehabilitation. They can also gain access to funds for moving expenses, security deposits, and other expenses needed to lease a unit. The remaining 250 participants will be coupled with two Supportive Housing Teams under a separate contract.

The Fairfax County Community Service Board (CSB) will be coordinating referrals from various stakeholders such as state hospitals and the homeless Continuum of Care

The program prioritizes individuals experiencing long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness, individuals and those whose housing instability frequently leads to crisis, hospital visits, or contact with criminal justice systems. It also emphasizes those who are leaving state psychiatric hospitals, and people residing in congregate care settings with a high concentration of individuals with serious mental illness.