Connecticut Housing Engagement and Support Services

CHESS is a new program for people with multiple chronic medical conditions, including substance use disorder, who have experienced homelessness or been unstably housed. CHESS provides Medicaid housing engagement and support services coordinated with housing subsidies.

This is a joint state and federal initiative aimed at managing the difficulties that are often part of homelessness, including access to health care and handling chronic health issues. The goal of CHESS is to promote health and well-being by coordinating targeted healthcare with housing.

Eligibility

To participate in CHESS, a person must be 18 years old or older and be eligible for Medicaid. In addition, CHESS eligibility is determined by:

  • A person’s chronic medical conditions, including substance use disorder
  • Homeless or at risk of homelessness (unless on CHESS already)
  • Behavioral health diagnosis
  • At least 2 critical needs

Critical needs are defined as the need for assistance or with one or more of the following activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs):

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Transferring
  • Meal Preparation
  • Shopping
  • Medication Management
  • Healthcare Coordination
  • Transportation
  • Housework
  • Managing Finances
  • Maintaining Housing Stability
  • Behavioral Health Management

Homelessness

Those who meet the definition of homelessness are those who are currently homeless or at risk of meeting the definition of homelessness without the receipt of CHESS services. This is determined in part based on a history of having met the definition of homelessness currently or not more than 12 months prior to current institutionalization (regardless of how long the individual has been living in the institution).

How does CHESS help?

This program provides chronic disease management and wellness education in addition to pre-tenancy supports (help with locating and securing housing), tenancy sustaining supports (help with maintaining successful tenancy), non-medical transportation, covered under Medicaid. Housing Vouchers are being prioritized for CHESS participants.  The CHESS staff will help a participant apply for the housing voucher.

Who will I work with?

While working with CHESS, you will have a team of people helping you through the process. Each person has different skills that are valuable to helping you find and maintain housing. Here is a brief list of agencies and staff members you will work with:

  • Department of Social Services (DSS):
    DSS is the Medicaid authority and determines eligibility for CHESS. DSS also oversees eligibility for Medicaid, SNAP, and CASH assistance programs.
  • Beacon Health Options Connecticut (Beacon):
    Beacon operates under the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership and has key operational responsibilities for CHESS including assessment for eligibility, authorization of services and outreach.
  • Intensive Case Manager (ICM):
    The Beacon ICM will complete the assessment and help you through the initial steps.
  • Supportive Housing Provider (SHP):
    The SHP agency will partner with DSS and Beacon, and has two staff members who will help with your recovery plan and providing services.
  • Supportive Housing Assessor:
    This person will complete a Housing Assessment and develop your Person-Centered Recovery Plan.
  • Supportive Housing Direct Service Provider:
    This person will help you find housing, maintain that housing, and will provide the day-to-day services to help support you through CHESS.
  • Peer Support Specialist:
    This person is someone with lived experience and may be involved to help support you through the process.

How does a CHESS application process begin?

If you would first like to learn more about CHESS, please call 2-1-1 or the Department of Social Services (888)-992-8637.

When you are ready to apply, you can submit an application online at www.ctchessdss.com,  or call 2-1-1 to connect with a Coordinated Access Network (CAN).

How to Apply

Call: 2-1-1 to connect with a CAN to apply over the phone.

An Intensive Case Manager (ICM) from Beacon will contact you to set up an assessment. The ICM will walk you through the rest of the process.