Public Housing:

Issues in Housing the Nonelderly Mentally Disabled With the Elderly

T-RCED-92-44: Published: Mar 27, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 1992.

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GAO discussed issues involving the housing of nonelderly persons with mental disabilities in public housing designated for the elderly. GAO noted that: (1) federal antidiscrimination law prohibits public housing authorities (PHA) from discriminating against persons with mental disabilities, and public housing law includes mentally disabled persons, regardless of age, as eligible for public housing designated for the elderly; (2) PHA reported that mentally disabled persons occupy from 9 to 12 percent of public housing designated for the elderly; (3) PHA reported that mentally disabled occupants cause more problems than elderly residents of public housing; (4) proposed alternatives to housing the mentally disabled with the elderly involve changing the statutory definition of the elderly family, providing alternative housing, improving the delivery of community services to the mentally disabled, and using more detailed screening criteria for mentally disabled persons applying for public housing for the elderly; and (5) cooperative agreements between PHA and local service providers are a good first step to help PHA and mental health providers meet their responsibilities to the mentally disabled.

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