County receives grant to help with housing data (Pantagraph)

By Edith Brady-Lunny

BLOOMINGTON — McLean County was one of four counties in the country to receive a Corporation for Supportive Housing grant to gather data to improve housing for mentally ill residents involved in the criminal justice system.

The $200,000 grant was awarded Thursday at the CSH annual summit in Denver. The technical assistance grant will be used to gather information about residents with unmet housing and treatment needs when they are released from incarceration.

In a statement issued Thursday, McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre said the money "will allow us to use data to ensure that supportive housing is targeted to those who are most in need and to improve outcomes for individuals that cycle between multiple systems of crisis care, including our homeless shelters, emergency rooms, and the criminal justice system."

The development of supportive housing is part of the County Board's Mental Health Action Plan released in 2015. The plan highlights several critical needs as part of an overhaul of community mental health in McLean County. Supportive housing — defined as an affordable place to live with ready access to services  — is one of the county's top priorities outlined in the report.

The goal of the new Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success initiative is to help communities match eligible individuals with supporting housing. Those projects could be financed with a mix of private, public and charitable funding sources developed through CSH partnerships. Counties will have 18 months to complete their data-gathering work and determine if supportive housing could be developed through the Pay for Success model.

The other counties to receive grant funds are Salt Lake County, Utah; Boone County, Mo., and Clark County, Nev. The new grant is funded with the support of the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.