Housing Assistance Program
As authorized under Neb. Rev. Stat. 71-812(3) and to meet the intent of Nebraska's Behavioral Health Reform (LB1083/2004 and LB40/2005), the Nebraska Legislature has directed the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services (Division) to contract with each Regional Behavioral Health Authority for the provision of housing-related assistance (LB40 / 2005) for adults with very low income who experience a serious mental illness and are actively working with a behavioral health/mental health case management service on a goal of independent housing. As such, Region 3 Behavioral Health Services (Region 3) located at 4009 6th Avenue, Suite 65, Kearney, Nebraska 68845 is established as the administrative agent responsible for the management and the coordination of the Region 3 Housing Assistance Program in serving twenty-two counties in central and south central Nebraska.
PURPOSE OF PROGRAM
The purpose of the Region 3 Housing Assistance Program is to help eligible service participants obtain safe and decent housing at an affordable cost. The rental assistance funds serve as a "bridge" to other housing sources such as the Federal Housing Choice Voucher Programs (commonly referred to as "Section 8") or living in independent housing without rental assistance. The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program will use the Federal Housing Choice Voucher Program as a model for program development with the intent that the transition from one program to the other will go as effortlessly as possible.
Some program eligible service participants will not qualify for other housing resources such as Section 8 vouchers due to their personal history. The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program will provide vouchers due to their personal history. The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program will provide assistance to service participants who have been denied services or have been placed on a waiting list once written documentation has been provided.
The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program is designed for people who are not capable of independent living without behavioral health services and supports in order to remain successfully in the community. The service participant will have more supported-services needs than just having a case manager checking periodically to see if the rent is paid. Each service participant will have an Individual Service Plan with a goal of independent living and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services funded behavioral health services. This includes the service participant's willingness to participate in appropriate behavioral health service(s).
The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program follows the Tenant-based Rental Assistance model. This means that the funds are designed to help individual households afford housing costs. The eligible participant receives assistance to cover Housing Related costs (such as rent, utility costs, security deposits, and/or utility deposits). The service participant chooses his/her own housing unit. The housing unit must meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS). If the service participant decides to move the assistance is moved to the new housing unit; the funding follows the service participant. The Region 3 Housing Assistance Program also follows the Supported Housing program model and is developed to be consistent with:
- The intent of Nebraska's Behavioral Health Reform Initiative
- The Federal definition of Supported Housing, as well as,
- The recovery values of service participant self-determination and choice.
PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
- US Citizen and Nebraska Resident
- Adult with Serious Mental Illness
- Extremely Low Income
- Active participation in one of the following Behavioral Health Service Provider programs:
- Assertive Community Treatment
- Community Support Program
- Emergency Community Support
- Day Rehabilitation or Day Support
- Individual Service Plan (ISP)
- Identified contact person who assists the individual with obtaining and maintaining adequate housing in the community and who can be contacted by a landlord if there are any problems. This identified person will act as the contact person for the landlord;
- A goal of independent housing and self-sufficiency.
- If 0 income, a goal to gain stable income by means of social security or employment.
- If appropriate, a goal to stay drug free may be included in plan along with monitoring plan to ensure compliance.
HOUSING ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
- Housing Flex Funds [one time only payments]
- Housing Assistance Voucher [ongoing rental assistance with annual cap]
All referrals & requests will be accepted from Behavioral Health Service Providers only.
Regional Housing Program Coordinator
Region 3 Behavioral Health Services
4009 6th Avenue, Suite #65
P.O. Box 2555
Kearney, NE 68845
Phone: (308) 237-5113 ext.243 or 1-800-321-4981
Fax: (308) 236-7669