TDMHDD's Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) Nationally Recognized

Monday, September 04, 2006 | 07:00pm

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (TDMHDD) Creating Homes Initiative was recently recognized nationally by the Commonwealth Fund in a report entitled State Behavioral Health Innovations: Disseminating Promising Practices. The report identifies 17 innovations in behavioral health care being implemented by states, built on the foundation laid by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and the Institute of Medicine.



Since 2000, the Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) has created or improved 4,468 housing options for individuals with mental illness. These units represent a continuum from home ownership to supervised group housing. Housing is the number one indicator of psychiatric stability, and an informal study of individuals discharged to permanent housing developed through CHI from the state’s Regional Mental Health Institutes showed a substantial decrease in re-hospitalization.

In additions to developing housing, the CHI has been able to facilitate a systemic change in the way stakeholders access information regarding available housing options, housing support services, and housing development. Funded by a Real Choice Systems Change grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Housing Within Reach project also uses outreach and marketing efforts to combat the stigma of mental illness and the “not in my backyard” attitudes in local communities.

“CHI is one of TDMHDD’s most significant accomplishments, and I am elated with the outcomes and success it has brought to many Tennesseans living with mental illness,” stated TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts. “The Department’s Division of Recovery Services & Planning, under the leadership of Marie Williams, has done a tremendous job managing the program and leveraging over $101 million from national, regional, community, and foundational funding sources.”

“It is indeed an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious organization as the Commonwealth Fund,” commented Marie Williams, Executive Director, TDMHDD Division of Recovery Services & Planning. “The CHI is a testimony to what can be achieved when public and private sectors operate together on a local level to generate change in communities.”

“We are privileged to provide leadership and resources from a state government perspective, but the real workers are folks in local areas dedicated to improving the lives of their neighbors with mental illness and co-occurring disorders,” added Gregory Fisher, TDMHDD Director of Housing and Homeless Services.

Along with the Commonwealth Fund, CHI has been recognized nationally by NAMI, Eli Lilly, CMS, and HUD.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that promotes a high performing health care system to achieve better access, improve quality, and foster greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. To identify the promising projects in this report the authors interviewed 21 experts in the field, as well as surveyed the mental health and substance abuse directors in all 50 states.

Please visit to review the Commonwealth Fund’s report. To obtain more information on the Creating Homes Initiative visit For additional resources and mental health information, please contact TDMHDD’s Office of Public Information and Education at (615) 253-4812 or visit

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