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May 4, 2006


Dear Senator/Representative:

Housing for people with severe mental illness and other disabilities is a major concern in our community.  In communities all across our state people living with severe mental illness face a tremendous challenge in accessing decent, safe and affordable housing.  Many are at risk of becoming homeless, while many others live in substandard housing, without access to critically needed supports and services that allow them to pursue a stable life in the community and the dream of recovery. 

As Congress moves forward with consideration of the FY 2007 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) I would urge you to support funding for critical housing programs that serve extremely low income persons with severe mental illness.  In particular, I am writing to urge your support for the following in the FY 2007 HUD budget:

  1. Section 811 – It is critically important that Congress restore funding for the Section 811 program and reject the Administration’s shortsighted proposal to cut overall funding for the program by 50% (from its current level of $238 million, down to $118 million) and impose a 90% cut to the capital advance/project-based side of the program.  Congress rejected a similar proposal for FY 2006, and should do so again.
  2. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – Congress should enact the proposed $209 million increase for homeless assistance programs (boosting McKinney-Vento funding to $1.536 billion) and continue emphasis of development of permanent supportive housing targeted to ending chronic homelessness for individuals with disabilities such as mental illness. 

I urge you to weigh in with your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee in support of both HUD Section 811 and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  Please do not forget the most vulnerable among us who are in desperate need of decent, safe and stable housing.



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