Statewide initiative works to reduce homelessness among veterans and individuals with mental illness
Soldier and wife, veteran, homlessness
Mental illness and the lack of needed services are the second and third most frequently sited reasons for homelessness, respectively. Additionally, veterans total as much as one-third of the nation’s population of people living in homelessness. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 45 percent live with a mental illness and half have substance abuse problems. 
To combat the present need in our community, The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is implementing the Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals-States Enhancement (CABHI). This initiative will provide collaboration among state-level agencies to reduce homelessness among veterans and/or individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The local providers selected are: Frontier Health, Inc., Helen Ross McNabb Center, Inc. and Volunteer Behavioral Health Care Systems, all equipped and experienced in serving people facing similar challenges. 
The Helen Ross McNabb Center will receive $450,000 annually for two years to provide the following assistance and support:
  • CABHI case managers will help these individuals achieve stable lives by engaging them in mental health treatment, assisting with maintaining affordable housing, supportive income, access to primary care and other basic necessities. By providing access to community services and ensuring continuity of care, the program empowers clients to break the cycle of homelessness.  
  • CABHI SOAR case managers will be responsible for assisting individuals without Social Security Disability income to expedite the process of applying for and obtaining SSI/SSDI benefits.  
  • CABHI supportive employment specialists will provide services for individuals looking for employment options by assisting with job search and employment opportunities.  
  • CABHI certified peer support specialists will provide social support to individuals in the program by sharing personal life experiences and challenges they have overcome throughout their lives.  
Only 5 to 7 percent of people experiencing homelessness with a mental illness require more restrictive levels of care, like hospitalization. Approximately 95 to 98 percent could live successfully in the community, if provided access to needed treatment and resources. To find out more information or to refer a loved one, call (865) 637-9711.