Washington State Department of Commerce officials are preparing to roll out a program that will develop housing for residents with complex health needs.
Get the latest state-specific health care policy information delivered to your inbox.
The department created the Apple Health and Homes and Permanent Supportive Housing Unit (AHAH/PSH) after the passage of House bill 1866 and House bill 1724 during the 2022 legislature. AHAH/PSH will provide guidance in creating affordable housing for extremely low-income individuals with behavioral problems or other disabling conditions.
AHAH/PSH director Melodie Pazolt discussed the initiative during a stakeholder meeting on Thursday.
“One of the exciting things about this program is that it brings to light that if you have a conduct disorder or long-term care disability, it’s hard to adapt to those challenges without a roof over your head. ‘ said Pazolt. “The idea of being able to meet the requirement of housing for a person with those needs is what this program is.”
AHAH/PSH will use $60 million in capital funds for the project. It will work with the state Health Care Authority (HCA) and DSHS to meet the housing needs of eligible participants.
AHAH/PSH will serve a portion of the enrolled Washingtonians HCA’s Foundational Community Support (FCS) program who have complex health needs and risk factors. FCS is a targeted Medicaid benefit that provides community support services to help individuals find and maintain housing and employment.
HCA FCS supervisor Matt Christie said the project will provide housing as a Medicaid benefit.
“This is a Medicaid benefit that helps eligible individuals with complex needs,” Christie said. “It’s not available to everyone on Medicaid right now.”
To qualify, applicants must be at least 18 years old, enrolled in a medical assistance program and eligible for community support services, Christie said. They must be assessed to meet 1 of the following needs:
- A need for mental health
- A substance use disorder needs
- Someone who needs help with the activities of daily living
- A homeless person with chronic health problems
AHAH/PSH will work with the HCA to identify individuals who are eligible and enrolled in an FCS program and who have immediate housing needs. It gave one request for proposals for a $6 million pilot housing benefit and voucher management program for residents enrolled in FCS. The money will be used to provide rental assistance in a location identified through an individual’s housing assessment.