The Louisiana Permanent Supportive Housing model combines deeply affordable rental housing with voluntary, flexible and individualized community‐based services to assist people with the most severe and complex disabilities to live successfully in the community. PSH is not a new model of housing. Successful efforts to create PSH units in numerous states have been well documented over the years, and a significant body of research has proven that successful outcomes for people and cost savings to government are achieved through the PSH approach.
In July 2008 – under the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008, P.L. 110-252 (the Act) – the State of Louisiana was provided $20 million under the federal project-based voucher program and $50 million under the federal Shelter Plus Care program for the provision of 3,000 units of permanent supportive housing. The Act provides that the State or its designee or designees may act at all respects as a public housing agency.
From the beginning, PSH stakeholders in Louisiana were determined to turn the Katrina/Rita disasters into an opportunity to create PSH at a scale that had never before been attempted. This level of effort was necessary to respond to the dire circumstances that the lowest income people with disabilities faced post‐Katrina – devastating levels of homelessness, institutionalization, isolation and separation from family and friends, and a lack of even basic community supportive services. Louisiana PSH stakeholders also recognized that they had a unique opportunity to benefit from what had been learned from numerous PSH initiatives undertaken over the past 20+ years in communities across the nation.
Louisiana’s PSH goal is truly ambitious and far reaching. Rather than simply create 3,000 PSH units, Louisiana has set out to create the nation’s first comprehensive PSH system that helps the State achieve several important policy objectives, including:
- addressing chronic homelessness;
- reducing the unnecessary confinement of people with serious disabilities in nursing homes and other high‐cost restrictive settings; and
- improving the state’s fragile behavioral health system through the implementation of evidence‐based models of housing and services.