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New Report Documents Housing Crisis Faced By Consumers Living on SSI

April 13, 2009

A report issued today demonstrates the deepening crisis in affordable housing faced by non-elderly adults living with serious mental illnesses.  The report, Priced Out in 2008, is a study of the severe housing affordability problems of people with disabilities who must survive on incomes far below the federal poverty line.

The report compares the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments of people with serious and long-term disabilities to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rents for modestly priced rental units.   Priced Out is published every two years by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force (a coalition of national disability groups that includes NAMI) to shine a spotlight on our nation’s most compelling – and least understood – housing affordability crisis.

In 2008, 219 housing market areas across 41 states had modest one-bedroom rents that exceeded 100 percent of monthly SSI, including 25 communities with rents over 150 percent.   Between 2006 and 2008, the number of market areas with modest rents higher than SSI rose from 164 to 219 – a 34 percent increase.   Perhaps the most shocking revelation in Priced Out in 2008 is the precipitous and relentless decline in housing affordability for SSI recipients since 1998 when the first edition of Priced Out was developed.  The amount of monthly SSI income needed to rent a modest one-bedroom unit has risen an astonishing 62 percent from 69 percent of SSI in 1998 to 112.1 percent of SSI in 2008. The root cause of the nation’s most severe – and most hidden – housing crisis is clearly revealed in the painful statistics included in the 2008 edition of Priced Out.

To view the Priced Out in 2008 report, click here.

Supportive Housing Legislation Introduced

NAMI and our colleague disability advocacy organizations in the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force (CCD Housing Task Force) and the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) are pleased to announce that important legislation to spur investment in permanent supportive housing legislation has been introduced in Congress. 

The bill, known as the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 (HR 1675), was filed by Congressman Chris Murphy (D- CT) and Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R – IL).  This ground-breaking legislation proposes important and significant changes and improvements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. 

The bill is named in honor of the late Frank Melville, a longtime member of NAMI Connecticut, and the first board President of the Melville Charitable Trust – a leading force in promoting supportive housing for people with severe disabilities.  An identical version of the bill (HR 5772) passed the House unanimously in September 2008.  Now efforts are underway to move the bill forward quickly in 2009.


Contact your House member and urge them cosponsor HR 1675 using NAMI's Legislative Action Center.   Tell them that people with disabilities need access to affordable, supportive housing!

Learn More

Click here to view NAMI's letter of support for HR 1675.
To learn more about HR 1675 read more on the NAMI website, or visit the Technical Assistance Collaborative.