Your Support at Work: Housing Advocacy for People with Mental Illness
In 2018 through our Access to Justice Grants Program, we awarded funding to Housing Advocacy for People with Mental Illness, a project of University Legal Services.
This project assists individuals with serious mental illness who live in community residential facilities or other Department of Behavioral Health housing – or those who need support in their own housing to avoid institutionalization. These individuals require a variety of housing-related services, from addressing needed repairs in their buildings to requesting reasonable accommodations for their special needs.
Because of supporters like you, lawyers with University Legal Services (ULS) can conduct outreach, provide “Know Your Rights” trainings, and offer direct legal services to residents in need. This is made possible, in part, by ULS’s access to facilities most legal services providers are unable to enter. At a recent site visit, ULS Executive Director Jane Brown shared the impact this project has had on members of our community:
“We were conducting a training and an older resident approached us afterwards, asking if we could help her get a winter coat. It turned out she was being told she had to leave the facility during the day, so she was spending that time outdoors or walking to nearby restaurants, and she was cold.
The facility did not have the authority to basically kick this person out of their home all day, simply in order to relieve the burden of staffing. Luckily we were able to represent this tenant’s rights, and as a result she has now been able to spend the afternoons inside her home when she chooses to. We wouldn’t have even known this was happening if she hadn’t asked for that coat.”
Tags: Issue 29 (December 2018)