Most people would prefer to live independently and/or with family, not in supervised or institutional settings. At the heart of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is its effort to help people succeed in integrated community living – making and keeping a home.
Hallmarks of Supportive Housing is that housing itself is integrated into the community, safe, in good repair, affordable, and where the terms tenancy is unbundled from a service program (i.e., a person can elect to not get services and still keep an apartment).
ACT teams work with people to help them get and keep housing that they choose, and try to ensure that the choice itself is an informed choice – many people internalize messages that they are not able to live on their own and benefit from a great deal of encouragement and supports to challenge those beliefs. For people currently living in supervised settings, ACT is actively working to help them move out. Although there are individual exceptions, ACT was not designed to overlay on top of long-term supervised living.
With the exception of significant safety considerations, people do not have to prove themselves “ready” for independent housing. Following a “Housing First” model, ACT supports individuals in accessing housing and then precedes to offer assistance and supports to help them keep housing. Psychiatric rehabilitation, which includes skill-building activities, is a large part of housing supports (See our Resource Page on Psychiatric Rehabilitation).
Some teams elect to have a housing specialist, who essentially becomes the housing resource maven for the team – gathering information about subsidy programs, low-income housing programs, tenancy laws, and landlord information. The entire team pitches in to assist in gathering information about housing options.
Receiving services in the “least restrictive environment” is a right and decision stemming from the Olmstead Decision.
Learn More about Supportive Housing and the Housing First model through these resources.