FAQs - Permanent Supportive Housing

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.
  • Q 1. What is Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)?

    A:  Permanent Supportive Housing refers to a unit (a studio, efficiency or one bedroom apartment or a two-person two-bedroom shared apartment or in a small house with no more than two bedrooms) where the consumer resides and holds the lease agreement in accordance to tenant/landlord law. Permanent Supportive Housing may either be in existing rental units in a community or in new units of housing specifically developed as PSH.

  • Q 2.  What is the Bridge Subsidy Program?

    A:  The Bridge Subsidy Program mirrors HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The consumer will be responsible for paying 30% of his/her income applied to the rental cost of the unit. The Bridge will supplement the remaining rent up to the Fair Market Rent Value in the local community.

  • Q 3.  How does PSH differ from DMH contracted Supervised or Supported Residential Services?

    A:  PSH differs from Supervised or Supported Residential services in that accessing mental health services is not a condition of occupancy.

  • Q 4.  Who is eligible for PSH?

    A:  An individual is eligible for PSH if he or she: (1) has been diagnosed with an Axis I Serious Mental Illness; (2) has income that is at or below 30% Area Medium Income; (3) is referred by a DMH contracted Community Mental Health Center and (4) meets one of the seven defined priority population.

  • Q 5.   Can a person under the age of 18 years receive PSH?

    A:  No, to access PSH the consumer must be of age to execute a legally binding contract - the lease.

  • Q 6.  What is the definition of a Serious Mental Illness (SMI)?

    A:  SMI diagnoses are: Schizophrenia, Schizophrenform Disorder, Shared Psychotic Disorder, Brief Psychiatric Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Psychotic Disorder NOS, Bipolar Disorders, Major Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Q 7.  Who can make a referral for PSH?

    A:  A referral for PSH must be generated by a direct care staff (care manager) of a DMH contracted vendor of community mental health services.

  • Q 8.  How are referrals for PSH made?

    A:  The care manager, on behalf of the consumer, must call the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative for Access and Choice at 1 (866) 359-7953 to access a referral form.

  • Q 9.  How soon will I know if I am approved for PSH?

    A:  You will know within 10 working days after the care manager submits the completed application. You and your care manager will receive a letter notifying you that you have been approved or denied.

  • Q 10.  I do not have a serious mental illness, but I do have substance abuse problems.  Am I eligible for PSH?

    A:  No. The primary Axis I diagnosis must be SMI. An individual will be eligible for PSH if he/she has both an Axis I diagnosis of SMI and a co-occurring substance use problem.

  • Q 11.  My daughter has a serious mental illness and needs PSH, but she has never been involved with state funded community mental health services. Is she still eligible?

    A:  No. She will have to become enrolled with a DMH contracted community mental health center before she can work with a care manager to generate a request for a PSH referral form.

  • Q 12.  I have no income. Am I eligible for PSH?

    A: Yes. If you have no income you are still eligible for PSH application.

  • Q 13.  What is Area Medium Income (AMI)?

    A:  AMI is an abbreviation for Area Medium Income. It is a measure of the median income in a particular community. Information for your community can be found at http://www.huduser.org/Datasets/IL/IL08/il_fy2008.pdf

  • Q 14.  What is Fair Market Rent (FMR)?

    A:  Fair Market Rent is a formula calculation developed by HUD and used by local Housing Authorities to determine the maximum allowable amount of payable rent for a unit in a specific geographical area. You can locate the FMR for your community at http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr/fmr2009f/SCHEDULE%20B_FINAL_091108R.pdf

  • Q 15.  Does the FMR value include utilities?

    A:  Yes. The FMR is the allowable cost for rent plus utilities (not telephone).

  • Q 16.  The housing unit I want does not include utilities in the rent. How do I figure out if it is under the FMR for my community?

    A:  If the apartment you are considering does not include utilities your care manager will contact the Subsidy Administrator to obtain a utility allowance schedule. You and your care manager can use this schedule to determine if the total rent plus the total estimated utility cost per month is under the FMR. Regardless of whether the utilities are included in the rent, you will still only be responsible for paying 30% of your total monthly income.

  • Q 17.  If the utilities are not included in the rent will I be responsible for paying them?

    A:  Yes. If your housing unit does not include the utilities, you will be responsible for paying these bills on time each month.

  • Q 18.  I have a Serious Mental Illness. I am not on SSI/SSDI, but do have a Trust Fund. Will I still qualify for PSH?

    A:  You will not qualify if your income is more than 30% AMI.

  • Q 19.  I am a consumer in a DMH Supervised/Supported Residential Setting. Do I have to move from my house?

    A:  Supervised and Supported Residential settings were never intended to become permanent housing but more so transitional housing. Consumers in these settings are not being forced to move out. However, in the future each person residing in a Supervised/Supported Residential setting will be reevaluated to determine if this level of care is appropriate. The goal is Recovery and to assist a consumer to maximize his/her independence and personal growth.

  • Q 20.  Am I required to participate in mental health services as a condition of staying in my home under Permanent Supportive Housing?

    A:  No. Participation in mental health services is not a requirement to maintain one's housing. However, we strongly encourage consumers to stay connected with mental health support services ensure successes in living independently.

  • Q 21.  I want to live with five of my friends who were in the nursing home with me.  If I am approved for PSH, can we all live in the same apartment?

    A:  No. Under Illinois PSH model, a unit with more than two unrelated persons living together is not considered PSH. PSH Bridge Subsidy will not fund group home settings.

  • Q 22.   My son is fourteen years old and has been diagnosed with a Serious Emotional Disturbance.  Will he qualify for Permanent Supportive Housing?

    A:  No. The applicant for PSH must be an adult who can legally enter into a binding contract (lease).

  • Q 23.  I have a SMI and meet all of the qualifications, but I also have three small children. Will I qualify for more than two bedrooms?

    A: Yes. The Subsidy Administrator will work with you to determine the number of bedrooms you qualify for based upon the number of persons in your immediate family.

  • Q 24.  I am staff person in a community agency. Is it permissible to Xerox the PSH referral and application forms or must the Collaborative be contacted to generate a referral or application form?

    A:  No. The Collaborative will deny and return any referral or application forms that were Xeroxed. The Collaborative has an extensive logging and tracking system, so if they did not generate the form they will not process the form.

  • Q 25.  As a consumer, if I am approved for PSH, do I have a choice in deciding where I want to live and what I like in an apartment or is this the decision of my care manager?

    A:  You have full rights to determine where you want to live and the type of unit you want it to be. Remember, that 1) what you chose must fall below the FMR for your city or community, and 2) YOU are signing the lease.

  • Q 26.   Does my care manager have to check on me in my own apartment?

    A:  Although services are not mandatory, it is encouraged that care managers conduct wellness checks to make sure that there are not situations occurring that may have a negative impact on the status of your lease agreement.

  • Q 27.  Why do I have to get on a waiting list for a Section 8 Voucher?

    A:  Bridge Subsidy is only designed to offer eligible consumers temporary assistance to obtain affordable rental housing until a Section 8 or other permanent rental voucher can be obtained.

  • Q 28.  Is Permanent Supportive Housing Bridge Subsidy time limited?

    A:  No.  Bridge Subsidy is not time limited. However, Bridge should be considered as temporary until the consumer can obtain a Section 8 Rental Voucher or some other type of Rental Voucher.  Bridge Subsidy is just that "a bridge" to a more permanent voucher.

  • Q 29.  How much does the Bridge Subsidy Program pay toward my rent?

    A: The Bridge Subsidy pays the difference between 30% of your income and the total rental amount for your housing unit. Please note that the rent for your unit cannot exceed the Fair Market Rent value for your community (see question 14).

  • Q 30.  I am an undocumented consumer of mental health services. Am I eligible for Permanent Supportive Housing/Bridge Subsidy Program?

    A:  Yes, the Bridge Subsidy Program is open to individuals who have SMI and who are undocumented.

  • Q 31.  If I am undocumented, am I eligible for a Section 8 Rental Voucher?

    A:  HUD supplies Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. According to HUD regulations, individuals who are undocumented are not eligible for Section 8 Rental Vouchers. Other voucher programs may be available.

  • Q 32.  I have a serious mental illness and I am involved with a CMHC. I have also been incarcerated with a felony charge. Will I qualify for PSH Bridge Subsidy?

    A: Yes.

  • Q 33.  If I am approved for PSH in Chicago, but after several months decide to move to Springfield will I lose my PSH/Bridge Subsidy?

    A:  No.

  • Q 34.  Will Bridge pay past due utility fees?

    A:  No. Contact your Regional Housing Support Facilitator (RHSF) for information about the IDHS Homeless Prevention Fund.

  • Q 35.  Will the Bridge Subsidy pay for food?

    A:  No. However if you have no other resources available you may use a small amount of your Transition Funds to make a one time food purchase.

  • Q 36:   If I find an apartment that I like, but it is more than the FMR price, can I use the Bridge Subsidy, and then supplement the difference from other funds?

    A:  No.

  • Q 37.  What will happen if my signed lease specifies no pets, but I choose to have a pet?

    A:  You will have violated the terms of your lease and may be subject to eviction.

  • Q 38.  What is a Subsidy Administrator?

    A:  A Subsidy Administrator is the organization in your region that is responsible for paying the Bridge Subsidy Program portion of the rent to the landlord each month. This organization will also work with you to determine the monthly rental amount you will be responsible for paying and to assess your eligibility for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

  • Q 39.  If I am approved for PSH how do I contact the Subsidy Administrator to get the rent?

    A:  Contact with the Subsidy Administrator (SA) will be through your care manager. You will have an opportunity to meet and dialogue with the SA when it is time for the income verification.

  • Q 40.  What will happen if I do not pay my rent?

    A:  The Subsidy Administrator will be notified by the landlord. If your income has remained the same and you chose not to pay 30% of your income toward your rent, you will be subject to losing your Bridge Subsidy. You then risk the possibility of eviction. If your income has been reduced or you have lost your income, the Subsidy Administrator will work with you to adjust your rental payment so that you can remain in your home.

  • Q 41.  I signed a lease for a studio apartment under PSH. Now the landlord is angry because two friends have moved in with me. He has threatened to evict me. What can I do not to lose my PSH?

    A:  Your lease is a binding contract. The terms were developed for occupancy of only one tenant. If you violate this, you are putting yourself and your lease in jeopardy. Your friends will have to move.

  • Q 42.  Can I be evicted (lose my apartment) under the PSH model?

    A:  Yes. Eviction can occur if there is consistent disregard for the terms of the lease. It is important to work with your care manager to understand the expectation of being a good neighbor and leaseholder.

  • Q 43.  What are Bridge Transition Fund dollars?

    A:  Bridge Transition Funds are one time only funds identified specifically to assist a consumer with resources to move into independent living, such as security deposits or basic household needs, e.g., bed, bedding, small appliances, couch, etc.

  • Q 44.  I understand that if I am approved for PSH there is $2,000 in Transition Funds available. How can I access these funds?

    A:  Yes, $2,000 is allocated for each person under Bridge Subsidy.  The care manager must manage these dollars with input from the consumer.  No cash will be exchanged.

  • Q 45.  Can the Transition Funds be used for any purchases that I desire?

    A:  No, Transition Funds are to be used primarily for Security and Utility Deposits. The remaining funds will be used to obtain basic household needs.

  • Q 46.  If I prefer to have cash from the Transition Funds allotment, how do I make this request?

    A:  You cannot make the request. Transition Funds will not be in the form of cash. Care managers must reconcile all expenditures.