Press Releases

NAMI Thanks Senate Banking Committee for Moving Legislation to Expand Access to Affordable Housing for People with Mental Illness

Oct 01 2010

October 1, 2010 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.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy.