Advocates from New York continue our push to force discussion at the federal level in regard to a stimulus package that includes funding for behavioral health services and for State government. There has been a strong grass roots movement across the State to help support this funding.
Another prime example of our reaching out is a letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union from Bill Gettman, Director of Northern Rivers Family of Services. Bill details the devastating impact to our community if New York does not receive additional funding in the federal stimulus package.
Letter: Congress needs to pass more robust pandemic relief
to the editor
Aug. 10, 2020Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 1:20 p.m.
Thousands of New Yorkers with major mental illnesses are at risk of losing their homes, which are essential to make recovery possible and to provide the means to connect them to vital community-based mental health and substance use services. Millions of children are missing their routines, activities and education. Taken nationally, countless Americans are facing foreclosures, bankruptcies, broken families, serious depression and ever-rising rates of suicide and fatal drug overdose — all while the COVID-19 virus continues to spread.
Yet, Senate leaders proposed a relief package that falls far short and fails to address the urgent call of Americans in need and to help heal our nation. The Senate’s proposal fails to address growing hunger and housing insecurity, unemployment and loss of healthcare coverage, especially for hard-hit African-American, Latinx and immigrant households.
Instead of prioritizing funding for Medicaid and assistance to hard-pressed states, the Republican proposal slashes unemployment benefits and funds a new $1.7 billion headquarters for the FBI. The proposal also makes the cost of business meals 100 percent tax deductible and provides new tax breaks to businesses.
Without more robust investment in state and local governments, unemployment benefits, and Medicaid aid to bolster mental health and addiction recovery services, COVID-19 will continue to ravage our communities and threaten the health and wellbeing of vulnerable individuals across New York and the United States.
CEO, Northern Rivers Family of services