Issue 6: Homelessness
Goal: Ensure that homeless mentally ill persons are identified, have individualized plans, and receive the range of services needed for successful community living.
The Alaska Mental Health Board advocates for the right treatment for persons with psychiatric disorders who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. These citizens have the same needs and rights to shelter and treatment as all other persons with psychiatric disorders. The AMHB seeks to ensure that homeless persons with psychiatric disorders have individualized treatment plans that are integrated into existing systems of care and related health and human service systems. Service providers, professionals and other helpers need to maintain their commitment to treating homeless persons with psychiatric disorders and their families with compassion, courtesy and respect. The AMHB deplores the commonplace use of jails and prisons to warehouse homeless persons with psychiatric disorders.
Twice a year the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation surveys the homeless population served at social services agencies around the state. Based on self report over the past 3 years, between 9% and 22% of the survey participants stated that they experienced a severe mental illness. It is generally accepted that these statistics under-report the actual number of homeless mentally ill persons. Seriously mentally ill persons should have adequate support systems available to them to prevent homelessness. In the event that homelessness occurs, services should be coordinated to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
216. Increase public and service sector education aimed at preventing and reducing the risk of homelessness for persons with psychiatric disorders.
217. Develop more constructive alternatives than the current use of the correctional system to be provided to homeless persons with psychiatric disorders.
218. Make training available to providers of services to homeless people with mental illness on the provision of respectful, family sensitive care.
Responsible party (actions 1-3): Advocacy groups, Alaska Mental Health Board, Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities