IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, 

ADVOCATES SEND MORE THAN 10,000 LETTERS TO GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERS CALLING FOR MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING FUNDING TO BE INCLUDED IN FINAL BUDGET
 

ALBANY, NY – Members of the Bring It Home coalition and mental health advocates have sent more than 10,000 letters to Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, calling on the state to invest in its community-based mental health housing system, and include reliable, adequate funding in the 2018-2019 budget.

“The foundation of recovery is stable housing with consistent, reliable, and accessible support,” the letters’ authors wrote. “Without adequate funding, those living with psychiatric disabilities who rely on mental health housing are at risk of displacement and relapse. When both are not available, these New Yorkers can fall through the cracks--often ending up homeless, incarcerated, or incapacitated.”

Noting that funding remained stagnant over the years regardless of the state’s fiscal situation, the writers are clear that further delay is untenable.

“New York’s mental health housing system cannot survive in its current financial state,” said Antonia Lasicki, Executive Director of the Association For Community Living, on behalf of Bring It Home. “As a national leader with over 40,000 available housing units, the state must sustain its reputation and adequately fund current infrastructure to protect its most vulnerable citizens living with mental illness and psychiatric disabilities.”

The ever-growing Bring It Home coalition represents 129 statewide mental health providers and advocacy organizations, 76 faith leaders, and over 900 individual supporters.

The letter writing/e-mail campaign will continue throughout the budget negotiation process.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 3, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

BRING IT HOME CAMPAIGN RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR CUOMO’S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

ALBANY, N.Y. – Antonia Lasicki, Executive Director of the Association for Community Living in New York State, issued the following statement on behalf of the Bring It Home coalition.

We applaud Governor Cuomo’s acknowledgement, during his State of the State address, that New York must protect its citizens with mental illnesses.  As the Governor said, “It is our obligation as a caring people – a compassionate society – to reach out, to provide whatever social services or address whatever needs the individual presents. It is our job.”

The Bring It Home campaign could not agree more, and we look forward to seeing him follow through on this recognition with the funding and support the community-based mental health housing system needs in his budget proposal—a system of housing that serves the very people he was referring to, that is more and more unable to provide required services due to rates that are grossly inadequate.  

Governor Cuomo’s leadership helped make New York a national model for community-based mental health housing, and his continued commitment is a critical part of maintaining our stature.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

BRING IT HOME CAMPAIGN ADVOCATES STRESS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING AS FOUNDATION FOR RECOVERY ON STATEWIDE TV PROGRAM

‘Mental Health Now’ Features Coalition Leaders and Residents

Albany, NY –Coalition leaders, mental health advocates, and residents from the Bring It Home campaign spoke about the critical role of supportive community-based housing in the latest episode of “Mental Health Now,” produced by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in New York State.

NAMI’s Matthew Shapiro spoke with guests involved with Bring It Home: Better Funding for Better Care on the importance of housing programs with wraparound services to mental health recovery.

Former resident and advocate Tiffany Monti shared how supportive housing was key in her recovery. “I wanted to recover, I wanted to feel better, but I didn’t know what that looked like. When I was struggling they saw the possibilities in me... Once I found stable housing I wasn’t struggling anymore."

New York State’s supportive housing providers have been stretched thin due to decades of underfunding. The Bring It Home campaign is urging the Cuomo administration and legislators to properly fund these critical programs.

On the show, Antonia Lasicki, Executive Director of coalition member Association for Community Living, in New York State also explained the necessity for adequate state funding to housing providers. She said, “Often folks find themselves in hospitals, or in other settings [jails] that are not ideal. Housing programs get people to the point where they can live on their own later.”

Housing providers and mental health advocates have seen the successes possible when those with serious psychiatric disabilities have access to stable supportive housing. Members of the Bring It Home coalition are working to ensure the 2018 state budget includes funding allocated to these nationally renowned, proven services.

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About the Coalition:  Bring It Home: Better Funding for Better Care
Bring it Home is coalition of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, consumers and their families, urging New York State to adequately fund community-based housing programs for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.  Full recovery and community reintegration depends on stable housing opportunities. Through education and advocacy, Bring it Home is working to bring better funding for better care to New York.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

TESTIFYING BEFORE LEGISLATURE, ADVOCATES URGE INCREASE IN FUNDING   FOR SUPPORTIVE MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING

At Assembly Hearing, Coalition Members Highlight Need for Increased Rates to Combat Decades of Unreliable Funding

Albany, New York - Members of the Bring It Home coalition explained to legislative leaders how unreliable funding has impacted mental health housing providers across the state at an Assembly Mental Health Committee hearing focused on housing for individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities.

Stressing the need for better funding to care for some of the state’s must vulnerable citizens, Antonia Lasicki, Executive Director of the Association for Community Living, described the precarious state of our community-based mental health housing providers in light of years of unstable funding and stretched budgets.

“By not providing these housing programs the funding they need, recovery can be impacted – to the point of destroying lives and families,” said Lasicki. “Without adequate and consistent funding, New York’s system of community-based mental health housing will lose providers, leaving those with serious psychiatric disabilities at risk of displacement. They can be hospitalized, become homeless, enter nursing homes, or become incarcerated—all at a greater taxpayer expense than the support we offer.”

She noted that many members of the coalition have also written letters to the Governor urging him to act and include the increased funding in the state budget. Lasicki quoted many providers from those letters that made it clear that housing is in serious jeopardy.

“New York has historically been a national leader in mental health care,” Lasicki continued. “Under the leadership of both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his father Mario – and with the strong support of the Legislature – New York set new national standards for caring for, and protecting, people with psychiatric disabilities. However, despite offering a breadth and depth of mental health housing that is unparalleled in the nation, the state has not kept its promise to adequately fund these housing programs that care for our family members, friends and neighbors who most need help.”

Currently, New York’s community-based housing providers only receive $7,600 to $40,000 per person per year—to cover room and board, medication supervision, case management, transportation, rehabilitation services, 24-hour staffing, and more. By comparison, care for residents of the state’s psychiatric hospitals cost $310,000 per person per year.

Other members of the statewide coalition spoke about the impact of underfunding on workforce with high turnover rates, stretching budgets, and the very real effects on residents and their families.

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About Bring It Home:
Bring It Home is coalition of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, patients and their families, urging New York State to adequate fund community-based housing programs for individuals with psychiatric disorders.  Full recovery and community reintegration depends on stable housing opportunities. Through education and advocacy, Bring It Home is working to bring better funding for better care to New York.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

ICYMI: BRING IT HOME OP-ED FEATURED IN POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL, URGES STATE TO ADEQUATELY FUND MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING SYSTEM

New York Has A Choice To Be The “National Model” Or Allow System To “Collapse And Become Example Of What Can Go Wrong”

ALBANY, NY – As the budget season and legislative session approach, Bring It Home: Better Funding For Better Care coalition member and Executive Director of the Association For Community Living Toni Lasicki highlighted the critical need for funding supportive housing in an opinion piece published today in the  Poughkeepsie Journal.

In her piece, Lasicki presses that New York’s mental health housing system is at a financial breaking point. Without adequate funding, the state risks compromising the stability and recovery of tens of thousands of New Yorkers with serious psychiatric disabilities who rely on community-based mental health housing to help them reintegrate into their communities and recover.

She writes, “Without this housing, these New Yorkers are hospitalized, become homeless, enter nursing homes or are incarcerated. All at a much higher cost to taxpayers.”

New York is known as the national leader in mental healthcare. Lasicki highlights how the leadership of both Governors Andrew and Mario Cuomo set new national standards for caring and protecting people with psychiatric disabilities. With 40,000 units of mental health housing, the New York State has to keep its “promise to adequately fund these housing programs which care for our family members, friends, and neighbors who most need help.”

Lasicki and the Bring It Home coalition members—including over 110 organizations across the state—are urging our state leaders to put New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities first and show the national how a strong system can succeed when properly supported.

Read the full OP-ED here: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/2017/11/30/states-mental-health-housing-system-faces-crisis/902529001/

About the Coalition:  Bring It Home: Better Funding for Better Care
Bring it Home is coalition of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, consumers and their families, urging New York State to adequately fund community-based housing programs for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.  Full recovery and community reintegration depends on stable housing opportunities. Through education and advocacy, Bring it Home is working to bring better funding for better care to New York.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 9, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

MORE THAN 110 ORGANIZATIONS FROM ACROSS NEW YORK STATE JOIN “BRING IT HOME” CAMPAIGN

Growing Coalition of Advocates and Providers Gains Statewide Momentum, Implores State to Adequately Fund Supportive Housing

ALBANY, N.Y. – In less than one month since launching, more than 110 organizations from across New York State have joined the Bring It Home campaign, an effort to demand full and adequate funding for community-based supportive housing from Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers. The member organizations include both advocates and housing providers, and continue to grow steadily in numbers.
This growing coalition is urging the state to uphold its reputation as a leader in providing supportive housing and care for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities, and to allocate much-needed funding to the community-based mental health housing system.

“This first milestone is proof positive that the imminent need for adequate funding for the community-based mental health housing system is a statewide issue that must be resolved,” said Toni Lasicki, Executive Director of the Association for Community Living. “With decades of inconsistent and unreliable funding, facilities are becoming unable to meet their obligations to the clients they serve, plus there is a real risk of them closing housing if this is not fixed.”

“Insufficient funding means insufficient care; it’s that simple,” said Wendy Burch, Executive Director of National Alliance of Mental Illness-New York State. “When facilities don’t have the resources they need to provide care, more and more New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities fall through the cracks, ending up homeless, in prison or worse. The state needs to live up to its obligation to care for our neighbors, and help us to address this major health crisis.”

“For those living with psychiatric disabilities, the lack of a stable home means constantly starting recovery over from square one,” said Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director of New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. “Giving us the funding we need to provide the best possible care means an opportunity for real recovery for our residents, and for reintegration into their families and communities."

“It’s critical that nonprofit organizations providing supportive housing for our most vulnerable have adequate resources to provide both the housing and services to tenants so they can live successfully in our communities,” stated Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York. “Without adequate services, they will not get the care they need and will just cycle back through much more expensive systems of care like institutions and shelters.”

See all the Organizations supporting Bring It Home Here!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2017                                                                                                                                                                      MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Mansfield, 518-339-7769, mmansfield@skdknick.com

NEW COALITION LAUNCHES “BRING IT HOME” CAMPAIGN CALLING ON THE STATE TO BETTER FUND MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING

Advocates Call for “Better Funding for Better Care”, Emphasizing Need for New York to Live Up to Its Reputation as a National Leader and Address Major Health Crisis

Albany, NY – A coalition of mental health advocates and supportive housing providers today launched the “Bring It Home: Better Funding for Better Care” campaign to call on the state to adequately fund community-based mental health housing programs in an effort to pull the housing system away from its impending financial breaking point. 

Despite New York’s nation-leading 40,000 community-based mental health housing units, the system has been left financially stretched untenably thin by decades of inconsistent and unreliable state funding. New York has a moral obligation to protect this critical system by providing for people with serious psychiatric disabilities – who often have significant medical conditions and substance abuse issues as well.

“A stable home is the foundation of care and recovery for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities,” said Toni Lasicki, Executive Director of the Association for Community Living (ACL). “It’s our responsibility as New Yorkers to help care for our neighbors, and ensuring continuity of care is key to supporting those with serious and persistent psychiatric disabilities. Without reliable, adequate and continuous funding, providers will cease operations, leading to shortages of critical community-based housing units and punishing those who need help the most.”

“The Governor and Mayor of NYC have announced commitments to 35,000 new units of supportive housing but if we lose existing housing due to chronic underfunding, we are just moving one step forward and two steps back,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York (The Network).

A failure to adequately fund care for its most vulnerable residents will result in profound consequences – not only for our residents, but for taxpayers as well. “Without a stable home, our loved ones end up homeless, incarcerated, incapacitated or hospitalized—at immensely higher costs to the state and taxpayers,” said Wendy Burch, Executive Director of National Alliance of Mental Illness-New York State (NAMI-NYS).

People with psychiatric disabilities who are jailed or imprisoned, often for minor infractions, can cost roughly $45,000 - $75,000 annually. Hospitalizations can cost $300,000 to $400,000 per year.

In contrast, the community-based mental health housing system serves 40,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents, but funding ranges from just $7,600 per person to $25,000, which is both unsustainable and completely insufficient to operate these highly complex and regulated programs.

This population needs providers that can keep up with emerging changes to the system, who can meet the myriad obligations required by the Office of Mental Health, The Justice Center, The Office of Medicaid Inspector, the Department of Health, and local governmental units, maintain a staff of consistent caregivers and provide supports to ensure that recipients are receiving appropriate care, showing up for their appointments and taking medications on schedule.

"Stable housing with supports is essential to the stability, health and recovery of New Yorkers with major mental health conditions," said Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS). "The lack or loss of housing leads to avoidable relapses and crises that simply force individuals back to square one, compromising the hard work and hope necessary to achieve recovery and reintegration into the community."

“Without appropriate funding, we are running the serious risk of allowing the continuum of community mental health housing in our state to collapse," said Glenn Liebman, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS). 

Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and previously his father Governor Mario Cuomo, New York led the nation in caring for those with serious psychiatric disabilities. Now, the state has an opportunity to show the nation how to address a major health crisis by promoting an approach with stable mental health housing programs that ensure integrated care. Without sustained and increased funding for these crucial programs, New York risks losing its reputation as a national leader and forsaking this population.

About the Coalition: Bring It Home: Better Funding for Better Care
Bring it Home is a coalition of community-based supportive housing providers, mental health advocates, consumers and their families, urging New York State to adequately fund community-based housing programs for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Full recovery and community reintegration depends on stable housing opportunities. Through education and advocacy, Bring it Home is working to bring better funding for better care to New York.

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