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PSA: Behavioral Health & 'Sober Living Housing' Crisis Affecting Native Americans
Posted on May 19, 2023

PSA: Behavioral Health & 'Sober Living Housing' Crisis Affecting Native Americans

An organized effort is underway to support those affected by targeted fraud schemes. Call 211 (option 7) for immediate transportation and housing support.

Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation Attorney General, Kristie Mayes, Arizona Attorney General's Office, and community leaders gathered to provide statements regarding the behavioral health and "sober living" housing crisis affecting Native Americans across Arizona communities. Watch the full press conference online.

Have you been affected by this crisis? Call 211 (choose option 7) for immediate transportation and housing support.

Native American Connections Partners in Organized Response

As a partner in this response and a trusted behavioral health service provider for 50 years, Native American Connections is dedicated to supporting the Navajo Nation, the state of Arizona, and all Native individuals affected by this crisis. The abuse perpetrated by these fraudulent groups is predatory, criminal, and shameful. Recovery housing is intended to be a supportive and secure place where individuals enjoy safety, develop skills, and ultimately transition to everyday life in a manageable way. We are prepared to use all available resources to support our relatives' access to credible behavioral health support and their safe return home.

Native American Connections' behavioral health programs are evidence-based, clinically supervised by healthcare professionals, and built with cultural relevance for Native Americans and all individuals experiencing substance use disorder. Visit our behavioral health page to learn more about the services and programs we offer, including intensive outpatient and residential treatment.

More on this Developing Crisis

The Arizona Attorney General's Office made a stunning announcement of Medicaid fraud that involved predatory schemes to sign up Native Americans for "sober living homes", many of which provided no behavioral health services and in some cases allegedly held individuals against their will. The state estimates hundreds of millions of dollars were defrauded from AHCCCS and the Medicaid system. View further coverage of this issue from Fox here and from the Tucson news here.

Call 211 option 7 for Immediate Support

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, AHCCCS, has announced a dedicated, 24/7 hotline at 2-1-1 (press 7) for any American Indian Health Program or other AHCCCS member who may need help due to the closure of a sober living home or residential facility. Navigators at the hotline are equipped to help callers with related transportation and immediate housing needs if they’ve been displaced and to help them find other healthcare services.

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A "chronically homeless" individual is defined to mean a homeless individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter or in an institutional care facility if the individual has been living in the facility for fewer than ninety (90) days and had been living in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven or in an emergency shelter immediately before entering the institutional care facility. In order to meet the ‘‘chronically homeless’’ definition, the individual also must have been living as described above continuously for at least twelve (12) months or on at least four (4) separate occasions in the last three (3) years, where the combined occasions total a length of time of at least twelve (12) months. Each period separating the occasions must include at least seven (7) nights of living in a situation other than a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter or in a safe haven.

Federal nondiscrimination laws define a person with a disability to include any (1) individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) individual with a record of such impairment; or (3) individual who is regarded as having such an impairment. In general, a physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, examples of conditions such as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), developmental disabilities, mental illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism.