Texas Housing and Health Services Coordination Council

Texas Housing and Health Services Coordination Council
Testimony from Pat Pound, National Council on Disability
February 8, 2010

My name is Pat Pound and I am the Vice Chair of the National Council on Disability.

I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today. I also congratulate the Legislature for their wisdom in creating such an entity.

NCD is an independent federal agency, composed of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. NCD's purpose is to promote policies and practices that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and integration into all aspects of society.

Just last month, NCD released two reports that may be important to your work. First is The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective HTML

NCD undertook this study with three objectives in mind:

  1. to evaluate public laws, policies, and program initiatives affecting the housing opportunities available to Americans with disabilities and others who have accessible housing needs for whatever reason, whether due to aging or a temporary disability;
  2. to analyze what housing, supports, and other benefits are available through the public, nonprofit, and/or private sectors; and
  3. to provide recommendations that can improve housing opportunities for people with disabilities in the United States.

You will find Texas mentioned several times regarding quality work in which many of you have participated. In Topical Brief 5, State Evaluation, you will find considerable information about what various states are doing relating to your work. We discuss coordination between housing and health services including use of qualified allocation points to increase access and integration, and the need for a "no wrong door" scheme for addressing needs of people with disabilities. Some of the state related recommendations include

  1. In collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures and national disability and aging advocacy organizations, convene a task force to examine federal policies to support cross-system delivery of housing and community living supports within States and make it easier for States to provide these in a timely fashion.
  2. Expand cross-agency funding of Money Follows the Person and Community Choice Act systems change demonstration projects (across CMS and HUD) to focus on cross-system, coordinated delivery, and funding of housing and community living supports, especially in States that have not shown significant progress in rebalancing funding to address institutional bias.
  3. Similar to CMS's promising practices resources, CMS and HUD together should collaborate with States to continually highlight and widely disseminate effective plans, policies, and practices for coordinating housing with community living/long-term care supports across State systems, using a consumer-directed approach.

Additionally please take a look at Chapter 6, Lessons Learned from National Emergencies regarding the Provision of Accessible and Affordable Housing. Housing is most often challenging for people with disabilities, but the whole process is magnified during emergencies. Whatever you do to improve knowledge of housing and health services can make emergency housing issues better.

You may also be interested in our other new report Workforce Infrastructure in Support of People with Disabilities: Matching Human Resources to Service Needs HTML

In this report we highlight the pending crisis of the increased need for disability services happening at the same time many in the disability field are retiring, creating a critical disability services workforce shortage. As you progress with your work I recommend you review this report and incorporate recommendations to address future shortages in the Texas disability workforce infrastructure.

Please feel free to consult our research work found at www.ncd.gov and use our recommendations to further housing and services for people with disabilities.

National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004