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NAMI Applauds Senate Amendment Providing Housing Help To Gulf State Residents with Mental Illnesses Hurt by Hurricane Katrina

May 4, 2006

Arlington, VA - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today applauded the U.S. Senate's adoption of an amendment offered by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana that provides $100 million to help people with mental illnesses and other disabilities in Louisiana and Mississippi affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The amendment comes as part of a $106 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill that includes $202 million for additional funding for rent subsidies in the two Gulf states.

In order to ensure that a portion of the funds reaches people most in need, Landrieu offered the amendment directing that $100 million  go to "project-based vouchers" tied to development of new supportive housing units for low-income persons with mental illnesses or other disabilities.

The money will support approximately 4500 new housing units.

"This is an important amendment," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Evacuees throughout the Gulf region need relief and support, but a major need from the very first day has been to help residents and evacuees with pre-existing illnesses and disabilities."

"For people with mental illnesses, the first step toward recovery often is a place to call home," Fitzpatrick said. "That's the case for anyone else affected by catastrophe. Ultimately, our needs are the same."

The Senate is expected to complete action on the overall appropriations bill later today, which then will need to be reconciled with a separate bill already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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