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Senate Set to Vote on FY 2011 “Omnibus” Spending Bill –

Funding for Mental Illness Research and Supportive Housing Programs At Risk

The Senate is expected to vote as soon as today on an FY 2011 “omnibus” spending bill that integrates 12 separate spending bills that would fund most federal agencies through the end of the current fiscal year (September 20, 2011).  This “omnibus” approach offers an important opportunity to secure targeted increases for specific programs such as mental illness research, supportive housing for people with mental illness experiencing chronic homelessness and veterans programs.
Congress must act on this legislation before the end of the year. 

Take Action

Advocates are urged to contact their Senators and House members and urge support for the “omnibus” spending bill approach, instead of the “continuing resolution.”  All House and Senate offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121.

What is at stake if Congress is only able to pass a full year “continuing resolution”?

If Congress were to reject this FY 2011 “omnibus” spending bill, and instead keep current funding levels in place for the remainder of the fiscal year, the results would dramatic for a number of key NAMI priorities.  Among these are:

  • A $48.3 million increase for mental illness research at the NIMH – Under a “continuing resolution,” the NIMH budget would be held to its current level of $1.489 billion.  By contrast, the FY 2011 Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations bill (part of the Senate “omnibus” bill) would boost funding to $1.538 billion.
  • A $138 million increase for the HUD Section 811 program that develops supportive and group living options for people with severe disabilities (the “omnibus” bill boosts funding to $235 million, from a comparable FY 2010 level of $138 million). 
  • The loss of as many as 65,000 new units of supportive housing individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness – Freezing the HUD McKinney-Vento program at its current FY 2010 level of $1.852 billion, instead of the $2.2 billion recommended in the FY 2011 Senate Transportation HUD Appropriations bill, will halt enormous progress being made in ending chronic homelessness, especially among single adults living with mental illness.  Among the initiatives that will NOT go forward in FY 2011 under a full-year “continuing resolution” are:
    • 10,000 veterans who would otherwise be housed through HUD-VASH will instead be homeless;
    • 25,000 people who would escape homelessness through the Emergency Solutions Grant under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program will be homeless instead;
    • 4,000 people with mental illness and 6,000 families who would escape homelessness through the new Housing and Services Demonstration will be homeless instead (this includes $17 million in funding for supportive services at SAMHSA);
    • 5,000 homeless people with mental illness and children who would enter permanent supportive housing through McKinney-Vento funding for HUD’s Continuum of Care will be homeless instead; and
    • 5,000 children who are homeless, at risk, or could be reunited with their homeless parents through HUD-VASH and the Housing and Services Demonstration will be homeless instead.

More information on the extreme risk to homeless programs under a “continuing resolution” is available in the following fact sheets from the National Alliance to End Homelessness: