Division of Behavioral Health Services

Arnold v. Sarn

  • Attention: the Division of Behavioral Health Services is transitioning to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. As of July 1, 2016, the website for behavioral health information will be: http://www.azahcccs.gov/

    As BHS staff are transitioning to AHCCCS, email is being forwarded to new addresses. If the individual you are contacting has been moved, your email will be forwarded until June 30, 2016 and an automatic message will be sent providing new email addresses at AHCCCS which are generally First Name.Last Name@azahcccs.gov


Below is a glossary for the most commonly used terminology in the Arnold v. Sarn suit—click on any term to reveal its definition.

Affordable Housing

Housing, either ownership or rental, for which a household will pay no more than 30% percent of its gross annual income.

Case Manager

A worker that assists the client's medical, psychosocial and environmental needs. Coordinates resources and access to appropriate health care system resources and other supportive services.

Chronically Homeless Person

(HUD Definition) An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more OR has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years. Individuals who are in transitional housing or permanent supportive housing programs are not considered chronically homeless even if they have been in the program more than a year.

Continuum of Care

(HUD Definition) A community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.

Dual Diagnosis

Refers to a diagnosis of more than one of the following: emotional/behavioral disorder, substance abuse disorder or physical disability.

Eligibility Requirement

The conditions a person must meet in order to become a participant in a program or service.

Emergency Housing

Designed to assist homeless individuals with immediate temporary shelter/housing, with the goal of moving into transitional and/or permanent housing. Also called "Bridge Housing."

Emergency Shelter

Any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations. The primary purpose, of which, is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of homeless persons. The length of stay can range depending on the shelter's guidelines.

Extremely Low Income

At or below 30% of the area median income.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

HIPAA was enacted by the U.S Congress in 1996. Title II of HIPAA defines numerous offenses relating to health care and sets civil and criminal penalties for them. It also creates several programs to control fraud and abuse within the health care system. However, the most significant provisions of Title II are its Administrative Simplification rules. Title II requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to draft rules aimed at increasing the efficiency of the health care system by creating standards for the use and dissemination of health care information.

Housing Navigator/Specialist

A Housing Navigator/ Specialist can help members find and maintain appropriate housing and apply for housing benefits. They can refer you to supportive services to help you maintain stable housing, including an ACT team, or case manager.

Housing First

Housing First (from the National Alliance to End Homelessness): A "housing first" approach rests on two central premises: 1) Re-housing should be the central goal of our work with people experiencing homelessness; and 2) Providing housing assistance and follow-up case management services after a family or individual is housed can significantly reduce the time people spend in homelessness. Case management ensures individuals and families have a source of income through employment and/or public benefits, identifies service needs before the move into permanent housing, and works with families or adults after the move into permanent housing to help solve problems that may arise that threaten their tenancy including difficulties sustaining housing or interacting with the landlord and to connect families with community-based services to meet long term support/service needs.

HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development)

A federal department active in a variety of national housing programs including urban renewal and public housing.

Low Income

Income at or below 80% of the area median income.


A health insurance program administered by the United States government, covering people who are either age 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria, such as a disabling illness (i.e. severe mental illness). It was originally signed into law on July 30, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as amendments to Social Security legislation.

Multiply Diagnosed

This generally refers to people who have chronic alcohol and/or other drug use problems and/or a serious mental illness and/or are HIV-positive. The terms "dually diagnosed" and "triply diagnosed" are also used.

Permanent Housing

Housing which is intended to be the tenant's home for as long as they choose. In the supportive housing model, services are available to the tenant, but accepting services cannot be required of tenants or in any way impact their tenancy. Tenants of permanent housing sign legal lease documents.

Permanent Supportive Housing

(HUD Definition) Long-term, community-based housing that has supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. This type of supportive housing enables special needs populations to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting. The supportive services may be provided by the organization managing the housing or coordinated by the applicant and provided by other public or private service agencies. Permanent housing can be provided in one structure or several structures at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites. There is no definite length of stay.

Person With A Disability

HUD's Section 8 program defines a "person with a disability" as: a person who is determined to: 1) have a physical, mental, or emotional impairment that is expected to be of continued and indefinite duration, substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that the ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions; or 2) have a developmental disability, as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.


The process of sending a patient/client from one social service agency to another health care or social service agency. Agencies may require written documentation for referral.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Federal agency which administers various programs related to SAMHSA within the Department of Mental Health. SAMHSA also refers to block grant funding received from SAMHSA to pay for certain services.

Section 8

A long term subsidized housing program, which allows qualified individuals to pay 30% of their income towards rent.

Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

A condition of persons who are eighteen years of age or older and who, as a result of a mental disorder as defined in A.R.S. 36-501, exhibit emotional or behavioral functioning which is so impaired as to interfere substantially with their capacity to remain in the community without supportive treatment or services of a long -term or indefinite duration. In these persons mental disability is severe and persistent, resulting in a long-term limitation of their functional capacities for primary activities of daily living such as interpersonal relationships, homemaking, self-care, employment and recreation.

Shelter Plus Care

Is a program that provides rental assistance for homeless persons with disabilities. This program is designed to provide long-term housing for a homeless person with disabilities, (primarily those with serious mental illness, chronic problems with alcohol and or drugs, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or related diseases, and their families who are living in a place not intended for human habitation (e.g. street) or in emergency shelters.

Sliding Fee Schedule

The charge for services based upon the income and family size of the individual or family requesting services.

SRO (Single Room Occupancy)

(HUD Definition) A residential property that includes multiple single room dwelling units. Each unit is for occupancy by a single eligible individual. The unit need not, but may, contain food preparation or sanitary facilities, or both.

Subsidized Housing

Is a government supported accommodation for people with low to moderate income. To meet these goals many governments promote the construction of affordable housing. Forms of subsidies include direct housing subsidies, non-profit housing, public housing, rent supplements and some forms of co-operative and private sector housing.

Substance Use Issues

The problems resulting from a pattern of using substances such as alcohol and drugs. Problems can include: a failure to fulfill major responsibilities and/or using substances in spite of physical, legal, social, and interpersonal problems and risks.

Supportive Services

(HUD Definition) Services that assist a client in the transition from the streets or shelters into permanent or permanent supportive housing, and that assist persons with living successfully in housing.

Transitional Housing

(HUD Definition) Transitional housing as a project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate support services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living within 24 months. For purposes of the HOME program, there is not a HUD-approved time period for moving to independent living.  Very Low Income: Income at or below 50% of the area median income.


A Voucher generally refers to a Section 8 Voucher provided by a local Housing Authority to a low or moderate income person but can also refer to an emergency voucher for short-term motel voucher for a homeless person. The Section 8 Voucher issued by Housing Authority makes up, in payment directly to the landlord, the difference between what a low or moderate income tenant can pay for rent (roughly 30% of their income) and the Fair Market Rent (more or less an average rent). Most Section 8 Vouchers are "tenant-based" meaning that the voucher holder can shop for an apartment or house rental on the private market, while others are "project based", meaning that they are not portable, but can only be used in a specific building.


An individual in need who receives no services.