Fw: New Housing Advocacy Guide Available

ICAN! America (icanamerica@email.msn.com)
Tue, 28 Dec 1999 06:47:24 -0500


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NAMI E-News           December 15, 1999            Vol. 00-71
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NEW HOUSING ADVOCACY GUIDE AVAILABLE FOR NAMI AFFILIATES;
NEW INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO USE THE HUD CONSOLIDATED PLAN PROCESS
TO ARGUE FOR MORE HOUSING DOLLARS

A new comprehensive guide to advocating for more federal housing funds for
non-elderly adults with disabilities has been published by the Technical
Assistance Collaborative (TAC).  The new manual is designed to help NAMI
advocates make the case with local housing and community development officials
that adults with severe mental illnesses experience the most acute housing
problems and are most deserving of housing assistance.

This new publication, entitled "Piecing It All Together in Your Community:
Playing the Housing Game," contains a detailed guide on how advocates can use
the HUD "Consolidated Plan" process to direct federal housing dollars to local
programs that serve people with disabilities - including adults with severe
mental illnesses.  Under federal law, more than $8 billion in housing funds each
year are allocated at the local level through the Consolidated Plan (ConPlan).
 These funds include an array of HUD block grant programs such as CDBG and HOME
that represent the largest federal investment each year in affordable housing
development.  States and localities are given wide discretion in how to spend
these funds, but must first go through a structured information gathering,
public hearing and planning process known as the ConPlan.  Once approved by HUD,
states and localities are compelled to follow the priorities set forth in their
ConPlan.

Thus, if a community does not identify development of permanent housing
(supported housing, congregate housing, rental subsidies, housing supports) for
people with severe mental illnesses as a priority, then millions of dollars from
HUD's mainstream programs can be lost (i.e., directed toward a purpose unrelated
to mental illness).  Therefore, advocacy at the local level in the ConPlan
process becomes critical for NAMI advocates and other allies who support
development of decent, safe and affordable housing and housing supports for
adults with severe mental illnesses.

In addition to covering the ConPlan, "Piecing It Together" also includes
advocacy guides for two other important housing plans that local officials must
comply with in order to access key federal programs:  1) local public housing
management plans, and 2) the Homeless Assistance Continuum of Care.  Like the
ConPlan, these plans control the direction of billions of federal HUD dollars.

Among the important steps highlighted in "Piecing It Together" are:  1) how to
document the unmet needs of adults with severe mental illnesses in your
community, and 2) what to do when local housing and community development
officials rebuff the efforts of NAMI (and colleague disability advocates) to
include housing for non-elderly adults with severe disabilities as high priority
populations.

Copies of "Piecing it al Together" can be downloaded at:
http://www.c-c-d.org/conplan_guide.html

Additional information on the ConPlan can also be found through "Opening Doors"
website at http://www.c-c-d.org/intro_page.htm




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H. C.  Sonny Covington
I CAN! America, LLC
Community Resource Builders
icanamerica@usa.net
Voice 1.800.678.5774
Fax     1.505.209.2619