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Support for states to build sustainable partnerships for housing
$1.98 Million in Real Choice Systems Change Grants aw

Posted Sep 29 2011 1:01am

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the award of $1,980,000 in grants to six states to develop sustainable partnerships with State Housing Agencies.  These Real Choice System Change Grants will result in long-term strategies to provide permanent and affordable rental housing for people with disabilities who receive Medicaid services. 

“The Obama administration is committed to helping Americans with disabilities live independent lives,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Real Choice System Change program and the productive partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development will help many people with disabilities get the housing support they need.”

“This is a perfect example of agencies coming together in a common purpose to find real and lasting solutions for persons with disabilities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “These grants will help persons find permanent housing and the service they need to live independently.” 

Today’s announcement marks another initiative in support of President Obama’s Year of Community Living initiative, a partnership between HHS and HUD to increase the availability of affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities who receive long-term services and supports in the community funded by Medicaid.

These investments support and align with recent legislative changes to the existing HUD Section 811 program, which authorized the innovative Project Rental Assistance (PRA) option.  The PRA option, which covers the difference between the HUD-approved operating cost of the project and the amount the residents pay, helps create permanent supportive housing units for persons with disabilities. 

States receiving the awards are Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin. 


Real Choice Systems Change:

Building Sustainable Partnerships for Housing Awardees



Award Amount

IndianaIndiana Family and Social Services Administration


MarylandMaryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene


MississippiMississippi Office of the Governor, Div. of Medicaid


OregonOregon Health Authority


TexasTexas Dept. of Aging and Disability Services


WisconsinWisconsin Dept. of Health Services





The Year of Community Living is an outgrowth of the 1999 landmark Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C.  In that case, the Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act allows a person with a disability to live in the least restrictive setting.  The Court said that such forced institutionalization can lead to isolation and segregation of individuals with disabilities and be a serious and pervasive form of discrimination.

Today’s announcement also marks another way departments, agencies and offices across the federal government are working closely to provide holistic care to all Americans.  Earlier this year, the United States Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., announced the nation’s first National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy .  This collaborative, inter-agency effort is the work of 17 heads of departments, agencies and offices and aims to help the American people live longer, healthier lives and keep health care costs down. 

Partnerships such as the National Prevention Strategy and the Real Choice System Change Grants announced today show how coordinated efforts can dramatically improve the health and well-being of all Americans.

For more information about the Real Choice System Change program, visit .

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