Waking Rip van Winkle: Why developments in the last 20 years should teach the mental health system not to use housing as a tool of coercion
Many housing programs for people with mental illnesses rely on models that require the person to adhere to treatment as a condition of continuing access to housing. These models that ‘bundle’ housing and treatment are relics of a past in which persons with mental illnesses were afforded little real choice in treatment, housing and other social supports. Conditioning access to housing in this manner is coercive and at odds with current thinking regarding treatment, as well as legal principles that shape the environment in which treatment is provided. This article summarizes the reasons why housing for people with mental illnesses should be provided free of the use of coercion.