Suggestions for Family Members Who Have a Loved One Living at Home While on a Long Waiting List for Housing

1)  Take skill-building courses and workshops or seek consultation to become more skillful in communicating and setting limits with your loved one while they are living in your home. (For information about useful courses, support groups, articles and other resources, see https://namipamainline.org/ and https://www.mentalhealthpartnerships.org/tec.)

2) While you are waiting, the individual with mental illness who is seeking housing may need to establish an acceptable credit score (for section 8 housing or the private market) and/or apply for Medicaid (for many government-assisted housing options). When your loved one gets Medicaid, see if your county has a CRIF program (Consumer Recovery Investment Funds Self-Directed Care (CRIF SDC). This can provide your loved one with more control over spending his/her Medicaid dollars so he/she may be able to use them toward getting his/her own place.

3) If doable, you can cosign a lease and provide support (financial, practical) in addition to or until a case manager or mobile supported independent living team can be acquired either through Medicaid or private care management.

4) You should be aware that people receiving homeless services get prioritized for supervised and supported living services, and people living with their families are not prioritized by most systems.

5)  Consider using a discharge from a hospital as an opportunity to make other living arrangements by telling your loved one and the hospital social worker that you’ve decided it is not an option return to your home to live.  As difficult as this can be, it’s harder to move a person from the home when he/she is already there (particularly if he/she is unwilling to leave, because that situation can involve an eviction with police, etc.).

6)  Aging parents may choose to sell their home and downsize as an opportunity to help dependent adult daughters/sons make the transition to living apart from them. Alternatively, in Pennsylvania adult disabled children who have lived continuously in the family home can inherit the home (even if their parents had Medicaid benefits for end-of-life healthcare). It is important to avoid the all-too-common situation in which an aging parent gets sick or passes away and suddenly, the siblings or other family members have to deal with a very difficult situation. Making a plan ahead of time and taking steps in that plan can prevent a lot of misery and poor options. We strongly advise that your plan should include consulting an elder law legal expert, establishing a Special Needs Trust (https://namipamainline.org/planning-for-the-legal-and-financial-future-of-a-loved-one-with-mental-illness/), and helping your loved one develop independent living skills (https://namipamainline.org/pathways-to-increasing-independence-for-adults-with-mental-illness/).

 

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