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R3 Report on New Housing Support Services Standards for Behavioral Health Care

Report Provides In-depth Rationale and Evidence for Standards

March 15, 2017
By: Katie Looze Bronk, Media Relations Specialist

View the multimedia news release

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois – March 15, 2017) – Homeless populations in the United States experience a mortality rate 3 to 4 times that of the general population. Most chronically homeless individuals have multiple disabilities including serious mental illness, chronic medical conditions and substance use disorders. To help improve the quality and safety of care for this population, an “R3 Report released today by The Joint Commission addresses new behavioral health care accreditation standards for housing support services programs. The report provides in-depth rationale and evidence for The Joint Commission’s standards.

Effective housing support services can change how homeless individuals perceive and attend to their health care priorities, according to the report. When individuals are healthier there is a reduction in emergency room visits as well as the need for other medical services, resulting in major cost savings.

“Research shows that when an individual’s housing needs are met and secure, improvement can often be made in other areas of the individual’s life, indicating a strong connection between secure housing and improved health,” said Lynn Berry, MLA, project director, Department of Standards and Survey Methods, The Joint Commission. “Our new standards are designed to help behavioral health care organizations that already provide housing support services to “raise the bar” and improve the quality and safety of the care, treatment and services they provide to individuals in need of housing assistance.” 

The standards apply to all Joint Commission-accredited behavioral health care organizations following the “Housing First” or “Rapid Re-housing” models. These models share the same principles to end homelessness by ensuring that occurrences of homelessness are rare and brief by helping individuals obtain housing quickly and connecting them with the care and support needed to maintain housing.

The Joint Commission’s housing support services standards require accredited behavioral health care organizations that provide these services to:

  • Obtain information on the individual’s housing preferences and place the individual into affordable housing that meets all applicable safety regulations.
  • Work to establish regular face-to-face meetings between the individual and staff, and encourage the individual’s participation in social, behavioral and/or physical care, treatment or services.
  • Provide assistance with move-in and securing essential furniture and appliances, and facilitate the individual’s access to behavioral and/or physical care, treatment or services.
  • Encourage staff to use evidence-based or accepted case management practices and communication and advocacy skills, as well as to be knowledgeable about Fair Housing rules and regulations.

The R3 Report may be viewed on The Joint Commission website. It may be reproduced only in its entirety and credited to The Joint Commission.

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