County Launches Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative

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Provided by Prince William County Communications Office

Prince William County is launching a Permanent Supportive Housing initiative, or PSH, for adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. The initiative will provide housing assistance funds, direct support to find housing units and mental health case management to help individuals secure stable and safe housing.  

During their meeting on May 14, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors accepted funding from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, or DBHDS, to provide housing assistance certificates for 72 units, to contract with housing specialists who will help locate available housing and to hire mental health staff.  

According to the county’s Community Services department, access to secure housing is vital in helping individuals with serious mental illness gain stability. “There’s evidence that getting people housed reduces the rates of recurring hospitalizations and incarceration. It reduces costs in the long run and improves their quality of life,” said Community Services Acting Deputy Director Sherry Bowman.  

“This is a multi-faceted approach, providing community-based support to individuals wherever they are,” said Bowman. “Prince William Community Services will have a team of mental health case managers and a peer to help individuals obtain documents, apply for benefits or whatever they need to acquire housing. The peer will focus on outreach and engagement. A supportive housing team will provide supportive services to help the individuals find apartment units and manage relationships with landlords. And the county’s Office of Housing and Community Development will manage the rental assistance.”   

Referrals for the services can come from hospitals, the justice system, Prince William County Continuum of Care, Coordinated Entry or anyone who works with individuals who might benefit. The Community Services team will screen referred individuals to ensure they meet the criteria for the initiative.  

“We’re not asking for any local dollars. This is completely funded through DBHDS. They invited Prince William County to build a system to help house individuals with serious mental illness, and we are excited that we can be part of it,” Bowman said.  

County Executive Chris Shorter echoed that excitement.   

“This is a great opportunity for the county to deliver human-centered services that really address basic needs of those in our community suffering from serious mental illness,” said Shorter. “I am grateful for the funding from DBHDS and the innovative ideas from county staff in making this a reality.” 


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