Assemblyman Santabarbara: We Must Invest More in Supportive Housing for Those with Mental Illnesses

As a long-standing member of the New York Assembly Mental Health Committee, I share deep concerns about the funding gap and the need for increased support for existing mental health housing programs.

While the recently passed budget allocated $39 million towards mental health housing beds, this amount falls short of addressing the gap identified by advocates. With that said, I think it’s crucial for the Governor to also recognize the impact stagnant funding has had on these programs over the years and work towards closing this gap to ensure adequate and accessible mental health housing for those in need.

Regarding the task force on aging in place, it was very disappointing to see that it was not included in the final budget and I’m urging the Governor to explore other avenues to get this important initiative started as soon as possible. Aging in place is a vital aspect of mental health care, and we must ensure that our aging population has the necessary support and resources to maintain their mental well-being.

With the end of session quickly approaching, I’ve expressed the urgency of these issues to the Governor’s office and the need to explore innovative approaches to support individuals in need of mental health services. In addition to the funding I worked to secure for supportive housing in City of Amsterdam, that will also have on-site services, I’m also sponsoring new bills this year for those with higher support needs, including legislation to create a statewide group home families working group, empowering group home residents and families to provide more input on how homes can better meet their needs (A.159).