SASH Mental Health Program Included in $42M Omnibus Funding for Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders has allocated $1,352,000 to expand a mental health program embedded in affordable housing through SASH® (Support and Services at Home) in partnership with the designated community mental health agencies across Vermont serving low-income older Vermonters and those with disabilities. The funding comes from $42 million secured for the state by Senator Sanders from the $1.7 trillion omnibus legislation that recently passed the U.S. Senate. Additionally, the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) is providing Cathedral Square with a planning grant to support the preparation needed to ensure a successful statewide roll-out.
"We are excited to see how the expansion of this program will positively impact the lives of Vermonters across the state," said Molly Dugan, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives at Cathedral Square. "Senator Sanders has been a longtime champion of SASH and we're grateful for his continued support of this program."
Since November 2017, in partnership with the Howard Center, a mental health clinician (known as the SASH clinician) has been embedded in the SASH teams at two Cathedral Square congregate housing sites in Burlington. The SASH Clinician is a fully integrated member of these SASH teams and offers low barrier individual and group services based on resident’s needs. These services are offered in person, via Zoom, or by phone, and can be scheduled or accessed on an as-needed basis.
According to a recent survey of program participants, 95% agree or strongly agree that “I received the help I needed.” The program has demonstrated that SASH participants will utilize and seek mental health support if it is readily available, both in terms of physical and structural access. The program has also supported increased comfort and knowledge about mental health by housing staff. An anonymous survey respondent shared, “I think that the program is an invaluable resource for our residents... to not only counsel residents but to provide extremely helpful information about aging, wellness, mental health and negotiating some very challenging systems.”