Independent Living Assistance
The Independent Living Assistance program provides specific, temporary financial support to consumers which allows them to live independently in the community by providing funding for rental deposits, rental assistance, utility deposits, utility payments, eye care, and dental care.
Funding is provided to 21 agencies that assist consumers by directly paying landlords, utility companies, and doctors for rent, utilities, eye care, and dental care. Many consumers who meet poverty guidelines do not have sufficient funds to move into or live in the least restrictive setting without temporary financial assistance. The program serves adults who are diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders and who meet the most recent Federal Poverty Guidelines
The program reduces the likelihood of hospitalization and the use of acute care, increases community tenure and the likelihood of employment, ensures that consumers receive the needed services in order to successfully integrate into the community, improves the quality of life, and reduces the reliance upon more costly services. The program has assisted 2,116 households in 2008. The average income of persons receiving assistance was $635.00 a month. The largest portion of the allocated funds provided rental supplements (45 percent); 35 percent was spent on utility supplements. An average of 46 percent of their total income would have been required of consumers had they not received supplemental funding through the independent living assistance program. The Priced Out in 2006 (Technical Assistance Collaborative) reported that people with disabilities were priced out of every housing market area in the United States. People with disabilities continue to be the poorest people in the nation. As a national average, SSI benefits in 2006 were equal to only 18.2 percent of the one person median household income. This program prevents homelessness, incarceration, and institutionalization. This translates into financial savings for the state as individuals are integrated into their home communities instead of being housed in more institutional settings.