David’s Story

After David was diagnosed with schizophrenia several years ago, he moved back home with his parents. About a year ago, he was doing well and he decided he wanted to find an apartment of his own. He found a job and, with some help from his parents, he was able to move into his own place.

Unfortunately, after a few months on his own, his condition took a turn for the worse and he was hospitalized.

Crisis Housing Fund

Because David was not able to work while he was in the hospital receiving inpatient psychiatric services, he was worried that he would lose his apartment. Fortunately, his mental health case manager helped him apply for Crisis Housing Funds.

The money from the program arrived quickly, only about a week after the case manager sent in his application, and the case manager was able to pay David’s rent and utilities on time.

However, even though it seemed at first that David’s stay in the hospital would be short, he ended up staying for longer than 90 days. After 90 days, the Crisis Housing Fund stopped paying his housing costs, and he decided to give up his apartment.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

After six months in the hospital, David was doing really well. He couldn’t wait to get back into an apartment of his own, but he was not sure how he would be able to pay for it, since he didn’t think he would be able to work any time soon.

Luckily, his case manager had helped him apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) shortly after he arrived at the hospital. He was eligible for SSI because of his disability, and his limited income and assets.

Once he started getting SSI, David was able to get Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) too. MSA is a state program that gives a monthly cash payment to people who are aged, blind or disabled who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

When David decided he was ready to move back to an apartment in the community, he knew that he would be able to depend on monthly payments from SSI and the MSA supplement. Money was still tight though, and his case worker suggested that he apply for a Section 8 housing voucher to help with his housing costs.

Section 8 Housing Vouchers and the Bridges Program for People with Serious Mental Illness

Even though his local housing authority put him on a long waiting list for a Section 8 voucher, David was able to get help with his rent right away through the Bridges Program for People with Serious Mental Illness. The Bridges program is a State of Minnesota program designed to help people with serious mental illness, by giving money for housing while they are waiting for a Section 8 voucher.

Once he became part of the Bridges program, David’s rent became much more manageable. Before participating in the program, he paid more than half of his income for rent. But once he became part of the program, he only paid 30% of his monthly income in rent, and the State paid the rest of his rent directly to his landlord.

Section 8 Housing Voucher

The voucher can last as long as he needs it, so he feels confident that he has enough support in place to live on his own.After a few months, David’s turn came on the local housing authority’s Section 8 waiting list. He got a letter from the housing authority, asking him to come in for a screening interview.

During the interview, he was asked questions to make sure that he met the eligibility requirements for the program. Since the requirements for the Bridges program are almost the same as those for the Section 8 program, David didn’t have a problem qualifying.

After he passed the screening interview, he attended a meeting at the housing authority called a Section 8 Briefing. The Briefing gave him information about how the Section 8 program works and how to find rental housing. During the Briefing, David learned that he could use his voucher to help pay his rent at his current apartment.

Since he likes where he lives, he decided to stay. The voucher can last as long as he needs it, so he feels confident that he has enough support in place to live on his own.

Earned Income Disregard

Although David isn’t working now, he knows he wants to have a job in the future. He found out that when he does start working, he will be able to use the Earned Income Disregard (EID), which is a work incentive that allows Section 8 voucher holders with disabilities who are starting work to pay the same amount of rent for the first 12 months after they start working.

This work incentive helped David feel more secure about going back to work, since he knows the amount he has to pay towards his rent won’t change at all for a year.