Interagency Council on Homelessness meets on mental health

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness met this month to discuss the intersectional needs of homeless people experiencing mental health and substance use disorders.

The council heard from leadership in Colorado and Arizona on the states' approaches to addressing the mental health needs of their homeless populations, according to a Feb. 12 news release. 

Officials in Denver have used social impact bonds to develop housing and supportive services to people experiencing homelessness to reduce use of other city services like emergency rooms. 

Meanwhile, Arizona has updated its Medicaid plan to cover up to six months of rent for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and are facing serious mental illness beginning in October.

"The lack of affordable housing is a primary driver of homelessness, and while not everyone without a home has a mental health or substance use disorder, many do. We must do everything we can to ensure that people struggling with mental illness or addiction have immediate access to housing, voluntary treatment on demand, and other wraparound supports," USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet said in the release.

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