Strong statement about the mental health withhold from our colleagues at ACL. As I mentioned earlier, our behavioral health sector is speaking with one strong voice about the possible impact to the withhold for individuals and their loved ones.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 13, 2020 Contact: Melissa MansJield, 518.339.7769, mmansJield@skdknick.com

MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING ADVOCATES URGE STATE TO IMMEDIATELY RELEASE WITHHELD FUNDING Group cites concerns around continuity of care, increased COVID-19 exposure 

ALBANY, NY—New York State announced a 20% reduction of funding for currently contracted community-based mental health services — and warned that additional funding could be withheld absent federal action. These cuts directly impact community-based housing programs for people with serious psychiatric disabilities, and could result in them becoming homeless. In response, Sebrina Barrett, executive director, Association for Community Living, said:

“More than 40,000 vulnerable New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses depend on community-based housing programs to provide stability and access to key services and treatment, including management of medications. Withholding these funds impacts payments for rent and critical services for 7,300 of these residents as current cuts are focused on counties in Western and Central New York, and the Hudson Valley.

“We urge the state to release this funding immediately to ensure the continuity of care for those New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses.

“This unexpected decrease makes providers choose between paying a percentage of all rents currently due, or deciding which rents will be withheld in full, and could result in hundreds of severely mentally ill persons losing their homes, daily medication management and access to supportive services. In addition, some organizations will be forced to halt admissions. This jeopardizes the housing and access to services for residents who can succeed in community settings instead of less humane, and more costly, options— hospitalization, incarceration, or homeless shelters—all of which would also increase their exposure to COVID-19.

“Throughout this pandemic, Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly recognized the importance of mental health and the signiJicant impact this crisis has had on the mental health of all New Yorkers. People with severe and persistent mental illnesses on average die 20 years earlier than the general population; they have cooccurring health conditions, placing them at

higher risk for severe illness. For those who rely on state-funded mental health housing, this crisis has been particularly acute: of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, more than 40% have required hospitalization and more than 15% ultimately died due to underlying medical conditions.

“New York must restore this funding—and protect our vulnerable neighbors from the destabilizing effects of losing their homes and support teams. Their very lives are at stake.”

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About the Association for Community Living: ACL is a statewide membership organization of not-for-proJit agencies that provide housing and rehabilitation services to more than 40,000 people diagnosed with serious and persistent psychiatric disabilities. The day-to-day rehabilitative and support activities performed in community residential and other housing settings are vital for people who face the daily challenges of living with a psychiatric disability and want to live independent, productive and satisfying lives as members of the community.

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