National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI;

Help Expand Access to Affordable Housing

November 5, 2009

Accessing decent safe and affordable housing is perhaps the most difficult challenge for adults living with serious mental illness and their families.  The need for deep rent subsidies, lack of affordable rental units and severe shortages of supportive housing impact people in communities all across the country.

NAMI is currently supporting two major initiatives in Congress; the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 and the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. They are designed to expand supportive housing targeted to extremely low income people with severe disabilities, including serious mental illness.

The Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 (HR 1675 & S 1481)

This important legislation would reform the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 to streamline the development of new supportive housing units and promote integrated rental housing options. The bill passed in the House on July 22, 2009 by an overwhelming vote of 376 to 51. The Senate version of the bill, S 1481, was introduced by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Johanns (R-NE). As of November 4, 2009, it is pending before the Banking Committee, which held a hearing on the bill on October 29, 2009 (at which J. Michael Jones of NAMI New Jersey testified).

Act Now

Please contact the U.S. Senate and ask your Senator to support S 1481, The Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009. Send your letter now, using NAMI’s Legislative Action Center.

Learn More

View NAMI’s letter of support for S 1481

Additional information on the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act

View the testimony of J. Michael Jones of NAMI New Jersey and Ann O’Hara of the Technical Assistance Collaborative

Investment in the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund

In 2008, Congress authorized a new National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) program to invest new funding in the development and preservation of rental housing targeted to extremely low-income households. Over time, this new NHTF program offers tremendous promise in addressing the affordable housing needs of people living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An important study by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities (CCD), known as Priced Out 2008, demonstrates that non-elderly adults living on SSI are, on average, at 18% of area median income, well below the standard of extremely low-income renters.

Once up and running, the NHTF will provide capital funding through state housing agencies and develop and preserve affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households. The Obama Administration has pledged to support an initial investment of $1.2 billion in 2010. In addition, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) have introduced bills to redirect $1 billion of government proceeds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the NHTF as an initial federal investment in affordable rental housing development.

Chairman Frank’s bill (HR 3766) authorizes an immediate $1 billion investment in the NHTF and includes protections to ensure that tenants served in these units have their rent contributions limited to 30% of monthly income. Senator Reed’s bill would fund the $1 billion initial capitalization for the NHTF from the proceeds of the sale of assets from the TARP program. 

Act Now

Please contact the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to ask your Senator and House member to cosponsor S 1730 and HR 3766, in support of investment in the National Housing Trust Fund. Send your letter now, using NAMI’s Legislative Action Center

View more information on the NHTF.