The movement in the 1970s to deinstitutionalize psychiatric patients had the unintended consequence of leaving scores of individuals with mental illnesses without access to appropriate care or supports. As a result, many became homeless.
Of the estimated 744,000 people who are homeless on any given night across the United States, nearly half of them have a serious mental illness, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse.
Most of the mentally ill homeless go untreated, and unable to work, live a hand-to-mouth existence out on the streets. They also frequently cycle in and out of medical and psychiatric hospitals, drug rehabilitation programs, and prisons and jails, at enormous personal and public costs. Numerous studies have shown that those suffering from homelessness and mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime or violence.
Breaking Ground’s supportive housing offers a life-enriching alternative to both institutionalization and street homelessness. Hundreds of our tenants manage severe mental illnesses while living independently in our housing, with the support of on-site case managers and links to appropriate care.