NAMI Applauds FY 2017 Budget Agreement and New Investments in Mental Health Research, Services and Housing

May 05 2017

Arlington, Va. — NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, strongly supports the bipartisan agreement on an Omnibus Appropriations bill for the remaining months of FY 2017. NAMI is especially pleased that this agreement will allow for an additional $2 billion for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and more than $130 million for mental illness and substance abuse treatment (including $51 million in additional funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). It is also important that the agreement includes sufficient funding at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that all existing rent subsidies are renewed so that no one is at risk of losing their housing in 2017.

NAMI would like to highlight the following priorities that are funded in the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations agreement that will address the needs of people living with mental illness:

Research:  The agreement includes a $53.5 million increase for the National Institute of Mental Health, boosting funding to $1.602 billion. In addition, the agreement increases funding for the BRAIN Initiative by $110 million, up to $260 million, and follows on the investments Congress committed to in 2016 with passage of the 21st Century Cures legislation.

Services:  The agreement allocates an additional $51 million for SAMHSA, including a $30 million for the Mental Health Block Grant program (boosting funding to $541.5 million).  Additionally, the agreement maintains the current 10 percent set aside in the Mental Health Block Grant “First Episode Psychosis” programs. 

Criminal Justice Programs:  At the Justice Department, funding for programs under the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act received a $2 million increase, for a budget of $12 million.  In addition, the agreement allocates $2.5 million for a national training initiative to improve police-based responses to people with mental illness. 

Supportive Housing:  The agreement includes sufficient funding to renew all expiring rent subsidies and contracts across a range of HUD programs, including Section 811 and tenant-based and project-based Section 8 programs.  The agreement also includes a $133 million increase for programs under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, boosting funding to $2.383 billion.  Finally, the agreement allocates $10 million in funding for new “incremental” Section 8 vouchers targeted to non-elderly people with disabilities, including mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Join the conversation at  www.facebook.com/nami | http://twitter.com/namicommunicate  | www.instagram.com/namicommunicate/