Home Sweet Home

Again our government is cutting funding of mental health. There’s been a paltry effort by those we elected to increase hospital beds and to increase supportive housing.

In one of my books I talk about housing. I’d like to talk about this now.

In New York State if you have a psychiatric diagnosis you can get a 4 percent interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage to buy your first home or co-op or condo apartment.

You submit verification of your diagnosis. You attend a financial empowerment workshop. Then you can apply for a SONYMA Home of Your Own (HOYO) loan as a first-time home buyer.

The good thing is SONYMA gives you a closing costs loan that is forgiven if you stay in this home for 10 years. This can shave $2,000 to $3,000 dollars off your upfront costs.

If I remember the HOYO loan requires that you have a credit score of only 620 so it might be easier to get this kind of loan if you don’t have spotless credit.

I want to cry when I meet a person who says they’ve been institutionalized for 12 years or more. No one should have to live locked up on a ward long-term.

It can be a near-endless battle for a person with a mental health challenge to find suitable housing. We need to keep lobbying for increased funding for supportive housing for those of us who can’t afford to own our own homes.

Yet I write about the HOYO loan because we need to give a shout out to states that are progressive in addressing the needs of people with mental health challenges to have full inclusion in society.

Supportive housing would help do this for those of us who need cheaper housing. Often supportive housing rent is just one-third of your income.

It’s true: There’s No Place Like Home.

I’ll talk more about this in the coming blog entries.

 

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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