SAMHSA Reauthorization Needs Support Now

This week, the Senate is scheduled to introduce legislation reauthorizing programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

According to NAEH, this would reauthorize SAMHSA programs through 2013 and includes several provisions important to homeless providers and clients. However, it needs your help today to insure that it is approved. Sarah Kahn from NAEH has asked for providers and interested parties to fax a letter of support to the HELP Committee to encourage them to move the bill. If so, please let Ms. Kahn know and if possible email a copy to us.

If you would like to use the attached letter please just plug in your organization’s name in a few spots.

The letter should be faxed twice. Once with attention to the lead majority staffer on the committee, Connie Garner at 202-224-5128; and once with attention to the lead minority staffer, Aaron Bishop at 202-224-6510.

With a busy new year and a short Congressional calendar due to the election, we are hoping the bill moves in January so it has a better chance of passing next year.

The reauthorization will provide significant benefits.

It includes the Services to End Long Term Homelessness Act (SELHA) as a new program within SAMHSA;

It renames the Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals program the Grants for Treatment and Recovery for Homeless Individuals (GTRHI);

It authorizes SELHA and the new GTRHI program together for $100 million;

It adds a new program targeted to integrating systems for those with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. Homeless populations are a priority in this new program. It is authorized at $14 million for the first year, $20 million in the second, and such sums as necessary thereafter; and

It addresses funding issues within the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) by increasing the state minimum to $600,000 (from $300,000 in current law) and increasing the Territory allotment to $100,000 (from $50,000 in current law).