UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee is allocating $1 million in grant funding to increase housing options available for Tennesseans who suffer from mental illness.
The funding will help support development of appropriate housing for people who need a place to live after having been discharged from a mental health facility.
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee and project partners will identify housing developments across the state to receive grant funding. UnitedHealthcare will provide $400,000 in grant funding in 2013 and $600,000 in 2014 for developments that provide safe, affordable, quality and appropriate housing for people living with mental illness.
"Without a place to call home, people who suffer from mental illness can get caught in a pattern of staying in hospitals, shelters and even the criminal justice system," said Scott A. Bowers, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. "We hope this funding will help to support Tennesseans who are living with and managing mental illness live healthier and more independent lives."
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 245,000 adults and 65,000 children in Tennessee live with serious mental health conditions. Many of them are homeless and survive on low incomes. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse's Creating Homes Initiative estimates that nearly 190,000 Tennesseans with mental illness are in need of some sort of housing assistance.
"The lack of adequate housing for individuals with mental illness is an important issue in Tennessee, so it is encouraging to see organizations like UnitedHealthcare supporting efforts to help all Tennesseans fulfill their basic need for housing," said Sita Diehl, director of state policy and advocacy for NAMI and the former executive director of NAMI Tennessee.
Housing developments across the state will begin to receive funding this year. The increase in new spaces that will be available for people who qualify is estimated to be close to 16 in 2013, and 24 in 2014.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.