Oregon’s Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services


Best Practice | August 11, 2006


Oregon's Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) utilizes several housing strategies to address the housing needs of people with mental illness and addiction disorders. These include a variety of initiatives that support the development of new housing resources and assist people in recovery from mental health and addiction disorders to acquire and maintain housing.


In FY 2003-04, OMHAS found that 3,376 homeless adults with mental illness and 157 homeless children with mental or emotional disorders enrolled in state-funded mental health services. During the same year, a total of 4,135 homeless adults with addiction disorders and 80 homeless youth with alcohol or other drug problems enrolled in state-funded alcohol and drug treatment services. These numbers represent about 5 percent of adults and 1 percent of children served. It is estimated that numerous additional individuals with mental health and addiction disorders are homeless in shelters and on the streets.

OMHAS licenses 165 residential programs accommodating a total of 1,284 people disabled by mental illness and funds 422 residential treatment beds for people with serious addiction disorders.

With respect to the supportive housing options, an estimated 2,777 adults disabled by mental illness live in apartment and shared independent living settings. OMHAS estimates that there are approximately 2,500 units of supportive housing for people in recovery.

Mental Health Housing Initiatives:

MHS Housing Fund: The Mental Health Services Housing Fund, initiated in 1989, awards modest grants to financially assist the development or renovation of housing for person with mental illness. As of October 2004, $3.9 million has been awarded to 94 housing projects in 27 Oregon counties to create and preserve housing for over 1,800 people with severe and persistent mental illness. Another $630,000 has been awarded to 135 housing operators for renovations to correct health, safety or accessibility problems. With these funds, housing has been improved for 976 persons, and in some cases, prevented from closure. Grants for housing development are usually $30,000 - $40,000 per housing project. Grants for renovations are up to $4,999.

Real Choice Housing Assistance Fund: With about $270,000 from a federal grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, local community mental health programs receive funds to assist people with serious mental illness to obtain or retain integrated community housing. To date, 373 individuals have been provided financial assistance averaging $367 to obtain or maintain integrated community housing. About 100 individuals were assisted in moving to a private apartment or home from more structured or transitional accommodations or homelessness; 84 individuals were assisted in transitioning to housing from homelessness; and 130 people were assisted in maintaining their housing and avoiding homelessness or re-hospitalization. OMHAS is considering ways this fund may be maintained when the grant expires.

Community Mental Health Housing Fund: This fund was established with the proceeds from the sale of the Dammasch State Hospital property in Wilsonville. Application materials for the first round of awards have been distributed with applications due February 15, 2005. Applicants can request up to $100,000 for the development of new housing capacity for people with serious mental illness.

Villebois: The "new urban village" under development at the former state hospital site will include housing for people with mental illness. Approximately 22 individual housing sites, totaling 8 acres in the 500-acre development area, will be integrated throughout the new community. The first two projects, a small group home and a 20-unit apartment complex are currently under development.

Alcohol Drug Free Housing Initiatives:

ADF Housing Assistance Services: These were initially funded in 1999-2001 biennium and provide housing coordination and/or rent subsidies. There are 8 projects awarded to Coos, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Multnomah, and Washington counties and Siletz tribe. During 2003-04, these eight projects assisted 678 families and individuals who are in treatment for alcohol and drug addictions by making available housing that supports a clean and sober life style.

Oregon Recovery Homes: OMHAS contracts with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon to administer a Revolving Loan Fund and two Outreach Coordinators. Oregon Housing and Community Services funds the second outreach coordinator. This program primarily supports the Oxford House model. Currently there are 123 Oxford Houses in Oregon accommodating 925 people in recovery.

ADF Housing Funds in the CFC: In partnership with the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), $2.6 million has been awarded to twenty-one housing projects in eleven counties to provide housing for 216 persons in recovery from serious substance use disorders.

Contact information:

Vicki Skryha, MSW
Housing Development Coordinator
Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Oregon Department of Human Services
500 Summer Street, NE, E-86
Salem, Oregon 97301-1118
Phone: 503.945.9722
Fax: 503.947.5547