WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act, which would provide grant funding for states, cities and counties, and tribal governments to build and expand crisis stabilization services with housing assistance and other wrap around services. Behavioral health crisis care centers provide critical stabilization services to individuals experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis.

“We must equip our communities with resources to better respond to the nationwide mental and behavioral health crisis. Behavioral health crisis care centers provide people experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis with critical stabilization services and short and long-term resources they need to lead a stable life. These facilities can also play a crucial role in improving coordination between community organizations, service providers, and local governments that are working to tackle the different aspects of this challenge. The bill I am introducing today would provide funding to build and expand these one-stop centers in Washington’s Ninth and across the country,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “Increased funding for mental and behavioral health is crucial to creating a more holistic approach to public safety that advances the health and safety of all community members. This legislation will help get us there.” 

Statements of support for the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act: 

“This is an important bill that will help align and coordinate levels of government to support our community members in need of immediate crisis care. It is no secret that many of our family members, friends and neighbors are experiencing increased behavioral health challenges and this bill will help provide needed resources to local communities and the provider organizations that serve them.” – Evergreen Treatment Services 

“Behavioral health care is an essential part of whole person health, both in moments of crisis and as part of ongoing primary care. Our communities are experiencing unprecedented levels of behavioral health needs. It is imperative that helping people meet these needs be as simple and as effective as possible. The Behavioral Health Crisis Centers Act takes a significant step towards this goal. ‘One-stop’ sites that offer behavioral health crisis care and a range of health care and wraparound services will make a difference in long-term health outcomes. International Community Health Services is grateful to Rep. Smith for leading on this issue.” – Kelli Nomura, Chief Executive Officer, International Community Health Services 

“The King County Housing Authority appreciates Congressman Smith's steadfast commitment to addressing the behavioral health and housing needs of people living in our region. Crisis Care Centers are exactly the type of investment we need to be making to ensure an array of services are available for community members who are struggling with complex behavioral health and substance use disorders. This is a critical component of our region’s efforts to address the homelessness crisis. This legislation would also support proactive outreach to high needs populations and tenants of subsidized housing programs - including those operated by KCHA - for stronger health and housing stability outcomes.” – Robin Walls, Executive Director/CEO, King County Housing Authority 

"In too many communities, people experiencing a mental health crisis are not able to get the help they need. Representative Smith’s Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act will help build out the continuum of mental health crisis response services across the country. This bill will move us closer to the goal of ensuring that every person in crisis receives an effective, humane response and is treated with dignity and respect.” – Hannah Wesolowski, Chief Advocacy Officer, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 

“We appreciate Representative Smith’s critical leadership in mustering much-needed federal support for local behavioral health crisis care systems, which, ideally, can act as one-stop centers to connect people with the service providers they need. His Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act could help to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are prioritized for housing and the services they need to stay safely and securely housed.” – National Alliance to End Homelessness 

“Rep. Smith’s (D-WA) reintroduction of the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act represents a huge step towards creating immediate access to care for individuals experiencing the most acute mental health and/or substance use challenges. Much like hospital emergency departments are essential resources for individuals with acute physical health crisis, emergency crisis receiving centers should be a resource for every community. We celebrate the potential within this act and are exceptionally grateful to Representative Smith as well as all others who are moving this important legislation forward.” – RI International 

“Every day, our staff and clients are faced with the realities of an underfunded, over-capacity behavioral health system. The Behavioral Health Crisis Center Act would change this reality by creating therapeutic, compassionate settings where our young people and other community members can receive the holistic services needed to heal. This bill seeks to bridge divides across government systems and community organizations, ensuring that we can meet clients where they are at and help support them into their futures. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Smith for proposing this bill.” – Jessie Friedmann, Director of Public Policy & External Affairs, YouthCare 

“The Seattle Housing Authority applauds Representative Smith for introducing this legislation to address the increasing behavioral health needs that are impacting so many people. We have seen firsthand the impact the pandemic has had on our residents. We make every effort to connect people to help so we can keep them housed safely but the current system is overburdened and does not have the resources to provide response and care for the growing number of people in serious crisis. This legislation would provide a relief valve for those in crisis and that is something that is needed. We are very appreciative of Congressman Smith’s recognition of this deeply concerning situation and his action to expand options for treatment.” – Rod Brandon, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority

The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act is endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Alliance to End Homelessness, RI International, and YouthCare. 

A fact sheet of the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act can be found here. The bill text can be found here