The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. MFP allows Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities, including older adults, in inpatient facilities (e.g., hospitals, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities) to transition to their own homes and communities, paired with supportive services.
Each of the 33 participating states are eligible to receive up to $5 million in supplemental funding for a range of activities that include, building Medicaid-housing partnerships to facilitate access to affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities and older adults to redesigning service delivery tools, such telehealth, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among MFP participants.
MFP and Housing
Since 2007, MFP programs have helped over 90,000 people transition from institutions to the community (Kaiser, 2019). Under MFP, people with disabilities and older adults receive additional home and community-based services (HCBS) beyond what is provided under existing state HCBS programs, including housing supports. The program is credited with helping states establish formal institution to community programs and with advancing more housing related services to address barriers vulnerable groups often face in accessing affordable housing.
The additional funding for the MFP is certainly a resource providers in the field should take advantage of as they continue to work to house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. These funds, for example, could be used to help eligible states work with their local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to utilize the new and existing Mainstream vouchers to house chronically homeless people with long-term care needs.
It is imperative that we use every tool in the toolbox available during COVID-19 to get vulnerable people out of congregate settings to smaller, safer, permanent settings with rich services. States may request this funding through supplemental budget requests on a rolling basis through June 30, 2021. Let’s make sure eligible states take advantage of this opportunity to help house people experiencing homelessness during this devastating time. Every resource helps!