Showing Posts by Date: 02/2019
For decades, community-based mental health housing has been consistently underfunded, endangering the wellbeing of 40,000 New York State residents who rely on these programs for support as they navigate living independently with serious and persistent mental health conditions.
In response to New York State dragging its feet on an issue that requires immediate and adequate fiscal support, a group of mental health housing providers, mental health advocates, faith leaders, and consumers came together to create the Bring It Home coalition. With a shared goal of ensuring sufficient and properly allocated funding for mental health housing programs, coalition members have been working tirelessly to help state leaders understand the gravity of the consequences should the mental health housing system fail.
Since the inception of our coalition in 2017, we’ve been taking action to enhance state lawmakers’ understanding of the crucial services provided by mental health housing programs. A number of local and state leaders joined us for tours of mental health housing facilities where they got to meet overworked and underpaid housing providers and staff, and see where funding is most desperately needed. Additionally, our advocates set up meetings with executive branch leaders to further the conversations surrounding the cycle of mental health housing and homelessness and how we can better support those afflicted with both through community-based housing programs.
We also created an e-mail campaign which gave supporters across New York the ability to send a message directly to Governor Cuomo’s inbox. As of February 2019, there have been 27,000 e-mails sent reminding the governor of his obligation to fund mental health housing programs that are critical to the recovery of so many New Yorkers.
This month, we started holding weekly rallies across New York State calling on Governor Cuomo and the legislature to significantly increase funding for life-saving mental health housing programs. Dozens of advocates, supporters, and residents have joined us to protest at state offices in Albany, New York City, Long Island (pictured above), Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo securing coverage in newspapers, television, and radio throughout the state.
Bring It Home knows that it will take $172 million, at a minimum, to stabilize approximately 40,000 units of mental health housing. We are advocating that it be added to the 2019/2020 state budget or, alternatively, that the Governor and Legislature add $32 million this year and in each of the next four years to address the crisis.
It’s encouraging to watch as the Bring It Home coalition expands its reach to all corners of New York State. We owe it to our friends, family, and neighbors whose lives have been touched by severe mental illnesses to do everything in our power to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents. As the Bring It Home coalition gains momentum, we look forward to finally seeing a better, stronger, and fully funded mental health housing system for all New Yorkers living with severe mental health conditions.
Updates on progress and information about upcoming events can be found on the Bring It Home Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. For more information about the Bring It Home mission and data on the mental health housing funding shortfalls, visit BringItHomeNYS.org.| What's New
The FY 2018-2019 budget, due October 1, 2018 was signed into law on February 15, 2019. Congress provided an additional $1 billion to the HUD budget over FY 2018, a total appropriation of $53.8 billion. The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance grant program grew by 5% to $2.6 billion, higher than any earlier proposal from the House or Senate. The bill provides enough resources to renew all Housing Choice and Project Based Rental Assistance Vouchers, while rejecting harmful work requirements and changes to rent rules that would raise costs for tenants.
Other HUD programs that the Network advocates for received slight decreases, including Section 202, Section 811 and HOME. No existing units will be lost due to these cuts. On a brighter note, HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS) received an $18 million increase and an additional $40 million was appropriated for new VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers. Funding for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) was included along with authorizing legislation until 2028.
Congress should begin working on the FY 2019-2020 budget immediately, and must again lift the budget caps to avoid another round of across the board cuts resulting from the Budget Control Act. Lifting of those caps was essential to gaining funding increases over the past two years.
Please plan on joining the Network at the National Alliance to End Homelessness lobby day in Washington D.C. on July 24th!