If you are not sure how the new health care law will help end homelessness, you are not alone.
Only time will tell – and it may be a long time. That’s because some of the biggest changes do not take effect until 2014. And even then, so much depends on decisions to be made in Washington, DC and in each state – before and after 2014.
In the meantime, advocates and housing providers can help shape the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a strong part of housing strategies – especially for chronically homeless individuals. As the ACA is implemented, the Alliance will offer tools, suggestions, and information for communities to make the most of new opportunities. We will also host webinars, post issue briefs, write fact sheets, and ask you what’s happening in your neck of the woods, and – more importantly – what you need to bridge access to housing with access to health care.
For starters, consider these two factoids:
- the ACA will extend Medicaid to an additional 16 million people nationwide;
- the ACA encourages states to increase access to services and supports, promoting independent living in communities.
If you begin to view your housing strategies in light of these two touchstones of health reform, you are on your way to joining implementation efforts in your state. Next, organize your resources to get in the conversations about the ACA – provide a unique housing-oriented perspective, and ensure access to specific information about implementation in your state.
Start with our new issue brief: Can Medicaid Reform Make a Difference for Homeless Individuals?
If you are still hungry for more, here are some links to housing-relevant information about the ACA:
- Health Reform Matters (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness)
- Priorities for Providers of Permanent Supportive Housing (Corporation for Supportive Housing)
If you are not already part of a health policy/advocacy network, find out what’s going on in your state here:
- Health Reform Implementation (National Conference of State Legislatures)
- Health Reform Central (Families USA)
If you already know how housing advocates are connecting with health advocates in your state, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We want to spread the word on promising approaches.