Guide To Accessing Mental Health Housing
By The National Alliance on Mental Illness New York City Metro Affiliate
The application is now completely electronic
Supportive Housing applications are generally prepared by a mental health professional. However, other individuals, including family members, often assist consumers in this process, CUCS is an organization that is available to assist people with mental illness and their advocates in navigating the Mental Health Housing system of New York City.
1. Call CUCS at (212) 801-3333 and ask for a Housing Consultant for information about the HRA Housing Application and referral process. All applications (called the HRA 2010e) must be submitted electronically. You may also request the CUCS Vacancy and Information Update, which lists available vacancies.
2. In order to submit the HRA 2010e application, you must be trained so call HRA directly at (212) 495-2900, and select option 4 from their automated menu.
3. A complete HRA application packet includes:
a) the HRA housing application;
b) a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, signed and dated by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner, and completed within six months;
c) a comprehensive psychosocial summary, completed within six months; and
d) tuberculosis testing results.
You may choose to utilize the Comprehensive Mental Health Report in lieu of a separate psychosocial summary and psychiatric evaluation, for information about the Mental Health Report, call CUCS at (212) 801-3333.
It is always important to remember to provide thorough documentation of all street and shelter homelessness in your application packet, especially if you wish the applicant to be considered either New York/New York (NY/NY) eligible and/or eligible for Chronically Homeless Priority status. In order to receive the Chronically Homeless Priority designation, a person who is SPMI (Seriously Persistently Mentally Ill) must be currently homeless and have been homeless (in shelter and/or on the streets) for 365 days out of the last two years or 730 days in the last four years.
4. Once you have all the requested documentation, the completed HRA application packet is then submitted to HRA electronically via the Internet. Copies of the entire packet should be made prior to submission; and finally
5. Within a few days of the electronic submission, HRA will send a response about the application. If the application is denied, HRA will indicate the reason with an opportunity to appeal the decision, and send an approval letter when completed.
What to Do After You Have Been Approved
Approvals are valid for six months for the HRA 2010e. After receipt of an approval letter, contact CUCS (212) 801-3333 for housing referrals, based on the needs and preferences of the applicant and the available vacancies in the housing programs.
Contact housing providers and make referrals. Generally, providers will want a copy of the HRA application packet as submitted to HRA and the approval letter received from HRA, though in some cases additional materials will be requested.
Applicants will be contacted for interviews with staff and sometimes with other residents. Interviews will often include questions about the information contained in the HRA application packet and applicants should be familiar with these materials. Prior to final acceptance by a housing program, an applicant can often expect a second interview.
You have to research what is available around the city and make appointments that you keep. Continue to send out housing referrals until the applicant is accepted at a housing program that meets their needs. It is important to maintain an active HRA approval letter throughout the wait list process, as housing providers will need it to move the person into their program.