This study will study the implementation and outcomes of a court-originating remedial action to offer less restrictive housing to mentally ill adult home residents in New York.

Residents, conditioned by what the court termed “learned helplessness” endemic to institutions will need the support of “peer bridgers” to consider such offers. Less restrictive housing has been shown to lead to better long-term health outcomes. Using modified ethnographic methods, the team will document: how eligibility (individuals with a mental illness”) is determined; how credible offers of alternative housing are made; how residents make sense of their relevance; and what will count as a refusal. We will also interview relocated residents, do life story interviews, log residential histories, and test a number of evaluation instruments. The findings should demonstrate the value of flexibly configured, qualitative research methods in documenting the difficulties of converting judicially-prompted reform into viable practice, fruitful means of resolving them, and stubbornly persistent problems – and of doing so in ways that can inform potential corrective action.

The PHLR Program