What is Supportive Housing?

Supportive housing is permanent, affordable, lease-based housing for people of low income with access to flexible supportive services. Supportive housing is designed for people with special needs including those with mental, physical and developmental disabilities as well as people who are homeless. Supportive housing provides a safe, affordable home with access to support services so that individuals can live as independently as possible in communities of their choice.

Supportive housing can be found in a variety of settings, in different constellations, and may include scattered site apartments, individual apartments, shared apartments as well as (more rarely) home ownership. Some supportive housing exists in affordable housing complexes that are often integrated with non-disabled individuals/families. 

Supportive services can vary but often include case management, care coordination, job and education coaching, assistance with daily living skills, transportation assistance, access to public entitlements and crisis intervention.

Group homes and other housing programs that provide congregate housing, are not "pure" supportive housing, but very important components in an overall continuum of housing and service delivery in NJ. Group homes and related housing modules are often reserved for individuals with the most challenging disabilities or multiple disabilities who require around-the-clock care and treatment. Under the new HCBS rule, group homes may house no more than 4 individuals unless there are medical needs and then group homes of up to 6 individuals can be approved.  

Since its inception in the 1980s, supportive housing has become one of the most effective interventions ever devised to end homelessness among the most vulnerable: individuals and families coping with mental illness, trauma/abuse, addiction and chronic illness including HIV/AIDS. (Source: Supportive Housing Network of NY).

Supportive housing buildings are often owned and operated by housing development organizations. Supportive services are delivered by separate agencies or by separate divisions within the agencies that own and operate them. Traditional supportive housing advocates call for separate administration of housing and services in order to keep the landlord/tenant relationship distinct from behavioral health, case management and other supportive services. A typical supportive housing project receives funding from a variety of city, state, federal and private sources divided primarily into three distinct areas: 1. Capital Funds, 2. Operational Funding, usually in the form of project based vouchers or tenant rental vouchers; and 3. Supportive services.

At SHA we believe that supportive housing models will continue to evolve to a place where there will be many more options both in architectural design and federal/state policies that will that will accommodate more innovation and the mixing of public and private dollars to expand the industry.

Please check our member agencies to learn about the unique and specialized supportive housing options for different populations in communities across the state.

Olmstead and Supportive Housing: A Vision for the Future

By Ann O’Hara and Stephen Day, Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.

Forward by Alison Croke and Stephen Somers, Center for Health Care Strategies

Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.
Consumer Action Series

This report offers a basic primer on supportive housing, as well as a thorough review of states’ current Olmstead planning efforts in this area.

Click here to download the PDF



Click our "Resources" menu above to find:

Supportive Housing Resources for families and consumers

Supportive Housing Resources for professionals

Emergency/Disaster links



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