For Immediate Release, December 27, 2000
Contact: Chris Marshall
HUD Announces $1 Billion In Homeless Funding Awards
On December 23, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released $1 billion in FY 2000 funds to support 2,600 grants to state and local governments and non-profits (including mental health agencies)in 350 communities to combat homelessness. These grants are under a myriad of housing and services programs authorized through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act. HUD allocates these funds through a process known as the "Continuum of Care" whereby local housing and services programs serving the homeless compete against each other.
This year, HUD was able to fund renewals of expiring rent subsidies under the Shelter Plus Care program outside of the local "Continuum of Care" process. Shelter Plus Care has been proven highly effective in serving homeless adults with severe mental illnesses because of its ability to join permanent housing with supportive services. In recent years, many communities have been reluctant to apply for Shelter Plus Care out of concern over how the required 5-year subsidy would be renewed in the future. Earlier this year, Congress split off spending for current and future Shelter Plus Care renewals into a separate $100 million account that will assure predictability for sponsors and formerly homeless tenants with severe disabilities. For this current round of funds released by HUD on December 23, $29 million was included for Shelter Plus Care renewals. More information on the Shelter Plus Care renewal issue and its impact on homeless adults with severe mental illness can be found at: http://www.nami.org/update/001020.html
In addition to the Continuum of Care (which totaled $895 million this year), a second set of awards (totaling $150 million) were made to local Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) by formula. ESG grants can cover both the operating costs for transitional housing, as well as for services such as mental illness and substance abuse treatment and employment.
Homeless Continuum of Care Funds Important for Adults with Severe Mental Illnesses
HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Grants represent an important source of funding for both housing and services for the most severely disabled homeless adults with mental illness. It is estimated that as many as 40% of the nations 600,000 homeless have a mental illness. Unfortunately, HUD's announcement does not separate out which grants are for services, and which are for transitional and permanenet housing development. However, the names of the successful applicants and the amounts of their grants are available at the following website: http://www.hud.gov/pressrel/esgcoc00/cocmenu00.html
NAMI advocates are urged to click on their state to examine the list of grantees and reach out to these agencies to ensure that every effort is made to place the highest priority on serving homeless adults with severe mental illnesses. The grant awards listed on the website above fall into several major categories: new Shelter Plus Care (SPC), Shelter Plus Care Renewals (SPCR), new SHP Supportive Housing (SHP) and SHP Supportive Housing Renewals (SHPR). It is these latter two categories that are more likely to be funding services, rather than permanent housing.
Final Details on CMHS Budget
In an E-News dated December 18 on the final agreement between the White House and congressional leaders on the FY 2001 budget, incomplete information was included on the details of discretionary funds under the jurisdiction of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). The final budget agreeement for this fiscal year contains the following directives from Congress with respect to CMHS' $204 million discreationary Knowledge Developmnet and Application account: $90 million for school violence prevention (in collaboration with the Department of Education), $10 million for 22 grants for services to children and youth suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), $7 million for treatment of mental health disorders related to HIV and AIDS in minority communities, $2 million for minority fellowships in mental health and $10 million in earmarks for local projects. This final category includes grants to improve mental health screening and referrals in "non-mental health" settings and jail diversion for non-violent offenders. Congress did not include separate funding for the new "Targeted Capacity Expansion" program that President Clinton had requested as part of his original FY 2001 budget request.