Ever wonder what those in supportive housing truly think of it?
CSH, as the contracted entity, has been granted permission by The Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health to post a report codifying nine separate Focus Forums held in Illinois with persons who have been given a chance to leave Nursing Facilities (NF), Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMDs) and Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities (SMHRF’s) for their own apartments with access to mental health support teams as needed. These Forums, opened to every William’s Class Member, provided an outlet to talk about their experiences and how supportive housing works for them. (The William’s Consent Decree is an Olmstead class action lawsuit requiring the state to offer additional residential alternatives to an institution.)
The group of residents that attended the meetings talked about how much better their lives are now than when they were in institutions. They enjoy their new-found freedom; a better selection of food they can choose; a chance at employment or college; and the ability to live like everyone else.
The Forums were held as far north as Zion and as far south as Peoria, close to their homes, service providers, and the peer run drop-in centers that are central meeting places for those that live in apartments scattered nearby. Residents often use these centers as meeting places when they need to or want to check in.
The Focus Forums were offered as another opportunity for residents to discuss how their more independent living is working for them. An extensive written survey to all residents is still being compiled and will be released soon.
At several sites, staff and residents used the Focus Forums as a chance to get together and have snacks, and celebrate what is a model program for the nation.