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SAMHSA Homeless Services
|The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within HHS provides funding for several programs that provide services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.|
The appropriations bills from the House and Senate propose large cuts to the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program under SAMHSA. The Senate proposes a $25 million cut to PATH for FY2016, which is a 38 percent cut from the $65 million budget in FY2015. The House is proposing $10 million cut to PATH or a 15 percent cut. In addition, the House and Senate are proposing $2 million cut to SAMHSA homeless programs (3 percent cut) and the Senate is proposing a $50 million cut to the Substance Abuse Block Grant (3 percent cut).
The Obama administration requested $74 million for SAMHSA Homeless Services programs in FY 2016. This represents flat funding from FY 2014 and FY 2015. These funds support Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI), Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI), and Treatment Systems for the Homeless. As of printing, neither the House nor Senate have released or voted on any funding bills for HHS programs. The Alliance recommends that, for FY 2016, Congress provide at least $100 million for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Homeless Services to fund essential treatment services linked to permanent supportive housing.
The Obama administration requested $65 million for the PATH program in FY 2016, which is level with FY 2015 funding. As of printing, neither the House nor Senate have released or voted on any funding bills for HHS programs. The Alliance recommends that Congress provide the full authorized amount of $75 million for the PATH program in FY 2016 to better serve homeless and at-risk individuals with serious mental illnesses.
SAMHSA under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funds several homeless programs, which provide essential mental health and substance use treatment services to homeless persons. These grants help chronically homeless families and individuals acquire and maintain permanent supportive housing. These grants include Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI), Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI), and Treatment Systems for the Homeless.
The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program allocates funds by formula to states to serve homeless people with serious mental illness. Eligible services include outreach, screening and diagnosis, habilitation and rehabilitation, community mental health services, substance abuse treatment, case management, residential supervision, and housing. PATH participates in the Homelessness Management Information Systems in each community in order to integrate their information and outcomes with other homeless programs. PATH funding has helped communities implement a ‘Housing First’ approach. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams are often established using PATH dollars. ACT teams are evidence-based outreach models and are often used to connect chronically homeless individuals to housing and intensive services, i.e. permanent supportive housing.
Helping with SOAR
In addition, SAMHSA homeless programs also work to connect clients to benefits including SSI/SSDI. Often they do this using the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) Initiative. Many homeless individuals are eligible for SSI/SSDI income but face multiple obstacles to actually receiving these benefits. This income can help end the person’s homelessness by allowing them to contribute to their rent, helping scarce housing rental assistance resources stretch further. SOAR trains case managers and works with Social Security Administration staff to expedite applications from homeless clients who are eligible.