In an effort to assist Medicaid users with house-hunting in Florida, the state is trying to run a pilot program that would reimburse managed-care plans for finding accommodation. Other services – to assist those with extreme mental illnesses or substance use disorders – would also be part of this program.
The first year would have a maximum of 42,500 people enrolled. The estimated cost for that would be $9 million+ in state and federal expenditure. The way it will work (since neither Medicaid nor Medicare is allowed to put money to rentals) is through a loophole since there is a real recognition and understanding that taking care of health – in a holistic way – extends to addressing all factors which impact it: economic, environmental and social. Housing is one of these.
In addition, given that unstable housing often results in the quite unnecessary (medically-speaking) use of emergency rooms, hospital beds would be freed up if housing improves for these individuals.
As Executive Director of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition, Karen Koch explained:
“Living independently for many of these individuals can change their lives. Not only does it improve their recovery and their self-worth but it generally results in their ability to become self-sufficient and less dependent on public resources.”