The passage of the 2014 omnibus budget bill represents the first time since 2012 that Congress has been able to reach agreement on the annual budget. The 2014 budget agreement (HR 3547), passed last month, was supported in the House and Senate by both Democrats and Republicans. After several years of budget cuts, the budget bill restored funding in some areas and prevented major cuts in others. Below are some highlights from the budget bill related to mental health.
The budget bill stops any more cuts to funding at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). For 2014, NIMH has a budget of about $1.45 billion – which is still $34 million below 2013 levels. However, the final bill includes full funding for President Barack Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative which is intended to speed the development of new technologies to help further the understanding of the brain's structure and function.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will receive a $144 million increase over 2013 levels, for a total budget of $3.6 billion.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA) program will be funded at $126 million which is $40 million below 2013 levels. The PRA program supports the lowest income people with long-term disabilities to live independently in the community. It provides affordable housing linked with voluntary services and supports. Unfortunately, as much as $109 million will be needed to renew expiring PRA contracts, leaving only $17 million for development of new rental units in 2014.
Funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act programs, which provides federal money for homeless shelter programs, will be just over $2 billion – with over $1.8 billion for the 2014 Continuum of Care (CoC) competition. The CoC is a set of three competitively-awarded programs created to address the problems of homelessness in a comprehensive manner. While this funding is $80 million above 2013 levels, it falls short of the $200 million increase the President requested for 2014. The increase will not be enough to keep pace with increase in funds needed for existing permanent supportive housing programs such as Shelter Plus Care. The Shelter Plus Care program is especially important as it provides rental assistance that, when combined with social services, provides supportive housing for homeless people living with disabilities and their families.
Find out more budget information on 2014 for housing programs.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) was not affected by the automatic cuts in 2013. The VHA budget operates on a two-year budget cycle meaning that this budget bill applies to 2015 funding.
Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.Donate today
Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.Share your story
Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.Join NAMI Today