CHESS—or Connecticut Housing Engagement and Support Services—is a new initiative that combines Medicaid health coverage with a range of housing services for state residents struggling with homelessness and chronic health issues.
CHESS will pool the efforts of state agencies and non-profit partners to bring coordinated healthcare and housing services to individuals with mental health, substance use and other serious health conditions.
Connecticut Medicaid’s innovative CHESS benefit, one of the first to receive federal approval, will join the Coordinated Access Network and housing subsidy programs administered by the Department of Housing (DOH); supportive housing programs administered by the Department of Mental Health and Addition Services (DMHAS); and the ‘Money Follows the Person’ program administered by the Department of Social Services (DSS, administering agency for Medicaid).
CHESS is aimed at managing the difficulties that are often part of homelessness, including access to health care and handling chronic health issues, with the overall goal of promoting health and well-being by coordinating targeted healthcare with housing.
Housing subsidies for CHESS enrollees, administered by DOH, will be prioritized for applicants who meet the Medicaid program requirements and are subject to separate eligibility requirements.
CHESS provides supportive housing benefits under Medicaid, coordinated with Medicaid services and non-Medicaid housing subsidies. Medicaid-covered housing engagement and support services include chronic disease management and wellness education, in addition to pre-tenancy supports (help with locating and securing housing), tenancy sustaining supports (help with maintaining successful tenancy), and non-medical transportation. Housing subsidies, administered by DOH, are being prioritized for CHESS participants. The CHESS staff will help a participant apply for the housing voucher.
With federal approval to use Medicaid funding for CHESS, DSS has opened applications at www.CTCHESSDSS.com. Application information is also available by calling 2-1-1.
As a new benefit to be evaluated by the UConn Center on Aging, CHESS is currently estimated to serve 150 participants through next fiscal year. The joint state/federal initiative was designed by a collaborative of DSS, DOH, DMHAS, DDS, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Partnership for Strong Communities, and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.
The Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership, through Beacon Health Options, will provide eligibility assessment and service authorization. Federal support is provided by the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
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