Aspire Indiana Health recently received a $2.5 million housing assistance grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. The grant is for five years and covers Hamilton, Boone, Hancock, Hendricks and Madison counties.
The focus of the grant is to obtain secure housing for homeless individuals with serious mental illness issues.
“Since it’s a SAMHSA grant, it is tied to growing integrated health care services. So, housing is a part of health care service because, if you think about it, someone who is homeless and living under a bridge, how are they taking care of diabetes or treating their foot that hurts?” Aspire Indiana Director of Strategic Initiatives Mike Keevin said. “(The grant) will help increase access to behavioral, primary and recovering health services.”
Part of the grant will allow Aspire Indiana to fund an outreach person to actively work with shelters and community partners to create for access to the individuals who need it.
“Part of that outreach is connecting them to the appropriate sources to all the things I described,” Keevin said.
Aspire Indiana will hire five positions covering different roles specific to the grant. Grant funds also will go toward rental assistance.
“The new workers will focus on improving the overall health care of the grant participants by connecting them to primary care, behavioral, employment and housing services,” Keevin said. “The incidence of mental health challenges among the homeless population is high, and we’re taking a comprehensive approach to their well-being that starts with a safe, secure place to live.”