ProJo: R.I. bills would allow Medicaid funds to be used for housing

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 at 11:26 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two bills that could lead to the use of Medicaid funds to house chronically homeless Rhode Islanders unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday.

The committee passed S. 2083, which would allow the state to apply for Medicaid waivers to “ensure for housing, healthcare, and mental and behavioral health care services for the homeless ” and S. 2129, which directs “the executive office of health and human services (EOHHS)” to “utilize any current Medicaid waiver funds to provide coverage for supportive housing for the chronically homeless population in the state.”

Companion legislation in the House, Bill No. 7953, was introduced March 15 and referred to the House Finance Committee.

According to Eric Hirsch, a Providence College professor, urban sociologist and a longtime advocate for the homeless, there are 400 to 500 chronically homeless individuals in Rhode Island, but with current resources, only a fraction of this population can be housed.

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