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Housing legislation for people with mental illness approved in Senate

October 8, 2010
by Press Release
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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is praising the U.S. Senate Banking Committee for its unanimous approval of S.1481, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act.

"This important legislation will reform and modernize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 program to promote access to supportive housing for individuals living with mental illness and other disabilities," said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick.

"NAMI is extremely grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Senators Bob Menendez (NJ) and Mike Johanns (NE) in sponsoring the bill and to Banking Committee Christopher Dodd (CT) and Richard Shelby (AL) in moving it forward by a unanimous vote on September 30."

S.1481 would make long overdue improvements to the Section 811 program:

-- modernizing and simplifying the capital advance program for non-profit sponsors,
-- integrating supportive housing for people living with mental illness and other disabilities into larger multi-family affordable rental housing developments,
-- protecting an existing tenant-based program targeted to people with disabilities, and
-- creating an innovative demonstration program to allow states to leverage additional capital funds for the creation of new units of supportive housing.

S.1481 is named in honor of the late Frank Melville, a member of NAMI Connecticut member and a national leader in the movement to promote supportive housing and end chronic homelessness experienced by persons with mental illness.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the bill (HR 1675) in July 2009 by a vote of 376-51.

NAMI will be working to have a final version reach the President's desk in the coming post-election congressional session.

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