Creating Homes Initiative
The Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) seeks to assertively and strategically partner with local communities to educate, inform, and expand quality, safe, affordable, and permanent housing options for people with mental illness and co-occurring disorders. The program was created in August of 2000 by Marie Williams, LCSW, current Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, in response to the lack of safe, decent, quality, permanent, and affordable housing options for persons with mental illness in Tennessee.
Today, along with the Director of Regional Housing Facilitators, there are six Regional Housing Facilitators who work in collaboration with the Continua of Care to create and develop safe, affordable, quality, permanent housing options for persons diagnosed with a mental illness or co-occurring disorder along a continuum from 24/7 supervised living facilities to home ownership. Through state FY21, the Creating Homes Initiative has leveraged more than $850 million to create 28,000 new housing opportunities across Tennessee.
Strategies for Success
- The state provides framework, incentives, and Regional Housing Facilitators who are full-time affordable housing development experts/grant writers.
- Broad-based local/regional task forces identify needs and prioritize projects (Now, Continua of Care).
- Regional Housing Facilitators work with any appropriate agency.
- Housing is owned and operated by local agencies, usually mental health service providers or affordable housing agencies.
- Emphasis is placed on developing permanent housing opportunities such as independent rental and home ownership with supports as needed in scattered locations.
To learn more, click for our onepager above or click on the tabs below for more information and specific functions of the Creating Homes Initiative. For a more in-depth history, visit Recovery Within Reach.
How it Works:
Regional Housing Facilitators work "hands-on" in collaboration with grassroots community task forces in each of the seven statewide Mental Health Planning and Policy Council regions to create and develop safe, affordable, quality, permanent housing options for persons diagnosed with a mental illness or co-occurring disorder. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact the appropriate Regional Housing Facilitator.
CHI 2.0 Regional Substance Use Housing Facilitators - Operating within the Creating Homes Initiative 2.0 (CHI 2.0), these professionals are located within the 7 mental health planning regions to work in collaboration with the HUD Continuums of Care as well as other community stakeholders to create and develop safe, affordable, quality, permanent housing options for persons diagnosed with opioid use or other substance use disorder.
Consumer Housing Specialists partner with existing community housing stakeholders in creating linkages, resource development, and community education efforts. Researching, evaluating, and building a comprehensive information collection and dissemination database of housing resources, housing options, community housing development programs which will identify current needs and issues to aid in the process of developing solutions. Consumer Housing Specialists involve key stakeholders in all project activities, including planning, product development, dissemination, and evaluation. Increasing the public's understanding and support for individuals with a mental illness or co-occurring disorders.
Please note: Regions 1 and 2 do not have Consumer Housing Specialists.
Connect with CHI Resources in Your Area
The Fair Housing Act or Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. The following legal agencies address fair housing concerns:
The Tennessee Fair Housing Council - Based in Nashville and concentrates on Davidson, Cheatham, Dickson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties.
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands is a private, non-profit organization that provides free legal services to people with low income. There are eight offices that serve 48 Tennessee counties. Offices are in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma.
Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. provides free legal assistance in civil (non criminal) matters to persons in Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton counties in Tennessee. Most of our services are only available to low income or elderly persons.
The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to connecting vulnerable Tennesseans with civil legal help.
Free Legal Helpline: 1-844-HELP4TN
Legal Aid of East Tennessee provides civil legal services ranging from information and advice, to complex litigation and appellate advocacy, to low income persons in the twenty six (26) East Tennessee counties, with offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Knoxville, Johnson City, Maryville, and Morristown.
West Tennessee Legal Services - Serves Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Dyer, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henry, Henderson, Lake, McNairy, Madison, Obion, and Weakley counties.