Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after introducing the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act, which would provide access to funding for states, cities and counties, and tribal governments to build, operate, and expand one-stop crisis care centers. One-stop behavioral health crisis care centers provide critical crisis stabilization services and wraparound services to individuals experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis. 

“Crisis stabilization services are a critical component of the continuum of care for people experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis. As Congress continues to deploy federal funding to deal with the nationwide mental and behavioral health crisis, it is important that we set aside funding specifically for one-stop crisis care centers that provide coordinated life-saving services. The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would give funding to states, cities and counties, and tribal governments to build, operate, and expand one-stop crisis care centers to support individuals in crisis. This funding would make tremendous progress to connect these individuals with crucial short and long-term resources, including housing and other wraparound services that will help them recover and maintain a stable and healthy life. The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act will empower communities to effectively support individuals in crisis and better respond to our nation’s mental and behavioral health crisis.”

The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act is endorsed by several organizations, including the National Alliance to End Homelessness, YouthCare, Valley Cities, Habitat for Humanity South King County, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, El Centro de la Raza, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Community Passageways, Compass Housing Alliance, and the Coalition on Human Needs.

See below for statements of support for the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act.

“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
 
“I applaud Congressman Smith for his continued advocacy to ensure local governments and community organizations have the tools and necessary funding to address the growing and intertwined housing insecurity and behavioral health needs of people in our region. If we are to be successful in significantly reducing homelessness and supporting our community members who are struggling with complex behavioral health and substance use disorders, we must ensure there are robust, easily accessible and equitable systems in place to respond to individuals in crisis. Congressman Smith’s Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would create programs to support proactive outreach to high needs populations and tenants of subsidized housing programs – including those operated by KCHA – who research shows are more likely to have behavioral health conditions than the broader population. The capacity to scale up flexible, community-driven, cross-sector programming is exactly what we need to fully support each individual living in our housing and across our region.” - Robin Walls, Executive Director, King County Housing Authority
 
“As we all work to address the crisis of homelessness, housing insecurity, and systemic inequities, we have to focus on the needs of individuals. I truly appreciate the Congressman putting a focus on Behavioral Health Care. Crisis services and centers are integral in supporting individuals, in both short and long-term crisis situations. Typically, people that access these services and centers most are those with chronic needs, so we appreciate all efforts to allocate funds between chronic and one-time needs. This investment will be useful in supporting high needs and mitigating a one-time crisis turning into a chronic support need. All in all, the system is deeply lacking and this investment will help with long term stability for people in crisis.” - April Black, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority
 
“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
 
“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. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Smith for proposing this bill.” - Jessie Friedman, Director of Public Policy, YouthCare
 
“Although the dedicated clinicians of Valley Cities provide excellent evidence-based services to our clients, there is a substantial unmet need when it comes to mental health and substance use care, far more so than physical health care needs. More than 2 in 5 Americans (42%) report needing mental health care over the past 12 months and about 1 in 4 (24%) report needing substance use care during that timeframe. More than 2 in 5 Americans who needed mental health care (43%) or substance use care (43%) in the past 12 months did not receive it, compared to only about 1 in 5 of those who needed primary care (21%) and did not receive it. The majority of those who did not get needed mental health or substance use care experienced negative impacts as a result, especially related to personal relationships, work, mental wellbeing and some increased use of alcohol and other drugs to cope. More than a third of Americans who did not get needed mental health care in the past 12 months (37%) say cost related issues (i.e., no insurance, out of pocket costs) prevented them from getting care. The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would do much to help mitigate this crisis.” - Shekh Ali, CEO, Valley Cities

 
Background

The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would provide formula grants for states, cities and counties, and tribal governments to build and expand crisis stabilization services with co-located housing and other wrap around services.

  • These one-stop centers would coordinate with governmental and non-governmental organizations to connect people with the service providers they need.
  • One-stop centers would focus on services for immediate crisis stabilization, as well as identifying suitable housing for individuals.
  • One-stop centers would rely on a range of professionals from clinicians to social workers to peer support specialists and community health workers.
Funding could be used for a range of activities needed to establish, operate, or expand one-stop crisis centers including:
  • Acquiring or constructing facilities,
  • Training, hiring, and retaining staff,
  • Coordinating with governmental and non-governmental partners,
  • Conducting outreach to community members, and
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity building to service providers and community partners working with the one-stop.

Recipients can also subgrant funds to non-governmental organizations to help provide the most appropriate services.
 
A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after introducing the Expanding Service Coordinators Act, which would provide millions of dollars to improve the capacity and retention of our nation’s service coordinator workforce. Service coordinators connect individuals and families living in federally assisted housing to a wide range of social services, making them a critical element of these programs.
 
“Service coordinators are crucial to the success of federally assisted housing, but programs that fund the employment of service coordinators are currently strained. We desperately need federal funding to maintain and expand our country’s service coordinator workforce to connect marginalized communities to critical social services, such as meal programs, health care, transportation, case management, and job training. This bill will fill that need by providing millions of dollars over the next five years to two primary service coordinator programs – the Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program and the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinator Program – and incentivizing the employment of service coordinators in new affordable housing projects across the country. Vulnerable members of our communities, including seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals and families, rely on federally assisted housing. The Expanding Service Coordinators Act would bolster our nation’s service coordinator workforce to elevate federally assisted housing in Washington’s Ninth and across the country.”
 
The Expanding Service Coordinators Act is endorsed by several organizations, including American Association of Service Coordinators, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Compass Housing Alliance, KMG Prestige, LifeSTEPS, National Affordable Housing Managers Association, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc., United Church Homes, WinnCompanies, MJ Housing Services, New Hampshire Association of Professional Service Coordinators, Volunteers of America, HumanGood, National Church Residences, LeadingAge, Local Initiatives Support CorporationMassachusetts Association of Resident Service Coordinators in Housing, National NeighborWorks Association, SAGE, and National Center for Assisted Living.
 
See below for statements of support for the Expanding Service Coordinators Act.
 
“This historic federal funding bill prioritizes the needs of older adults, empowers families with the resources they need to become self-sufficient, and grows supportive affordable housing across the country – in short, it is everything that a bill from Congress should strive to do. Service Coordinators are essential to the health and safety of older adults by connecting them with vital resources and allowing them to age in their own communities. They provide families the tools they need to become and remain self-sufficient, reducing other costly taxpayer-funded programs. Finally, Service Coordinators are a crucial part of solving our nation’s affordable housing crisis – by helping break down the barriers so many face in trying to access the necessary services and supports that keep them safely and reliably housed. With this legislation and the leadership of Representative Smith, we are one step closer to changing the narrative and making a substantial difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans all across the country.” - Michelle Missler, President & CEO, American Association of Service Coordinators.
 
"The Seattle Housing Authority appreciates Representative Smith introducing this legislation to increase funding for support service coordinators. We are able to offer a limited amount of these types of services, but we are continuing to see an increasing need that is outstripping resources. Our experience shows that partnerships, personal connections and culturally appropriate services make a difference in whether our residents struggle or thrive, and additional funding would be a tremendous help.” - Rod Brandon, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority
 
“I fully support the Congressman’s efforts to support the supportive services needed to stably house households. Placing this value on Service Coordinators and supporting their education is an admirable step.” - April Black, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority
 
“Affordable housing provides the necessary foundation for individuals and communities to thrive. And for many tenants living in subsidized low-income housing, extra support can make all the difference in taking that next step towards economic independence, improving one’s health, or maintaining their social wellbeing. Rep Smith’s legislation to expand service coordinators at federally-assisted housing sites would bring welcome resources to support some of our region’s lowest-income residents. It recognizes that we must make the connections between housing and other service streams in order to ensure residents have the connections, support, and resources to reach their goals. Service coordinators can play critical and varied roles as they work to support residents, including coordinating access to job training, health care, community activities, and social services. I thank Congressman Smith for his continued efforts to ensure there is robust and holistic funding available to support tenants living in federally-assisted housing.” - Robin Walls, Executive Director/CEO, King County Housing Authority
 
“Service coordinators in affordable housing communities for low income older adults help residents access vital services, from transportation to physician appointments, and provide critical help, such as assistance with Medicaid programs, which allows residents to live independently. Research shows that in communities with service coordinators, residents’ use of more expensive taxpayer-funded health care programs is reduced. Yet, despite service coordinators’ proven value, funding for these roles has, for too long, been meager. Mission-driven affordable senior housing providers, including thousands of LeadingAge members, are eager to increase service coordinators’ numbers across their affordable housing portfolio. LeadingAge is grateful for Representative Smith’s introduction of the Expanding Service Coordinators Act, which recognizes the need for and seeks the bold service coordinator expansion older adults deserve.” - Katie Smith Sloan, President & CEO, LeadingAge
 
“As a provider of supportive housing, Compass Housing Alliance has experience with the critical difference service coordinators make in helping our residents maintain their housing and improve their quality of life. We support this bill which recognizes the importance of these essential workers.” - Mary Steele, Executive Director, Compass Housing Alliance
 
“We currently have 36 service coordinators on our team, and they all make such a difference in our senior’s lives.  I know that service coordination allows our residents to live longer in place, thus saving tax dollars.  I whole heartedly support and thank you for your efforts to pass this incredibly important legislation.” - Paul Spencer, President, KMG Prestige
 
“As an agency that provides resident services to over $100,000 lives representing over 39,000 homes, we strongly support this expanding service coordinator legislation.  Not only do service coordinators save millions by providing much needing housing stabilization to the those in poverty they are a lifeline to saving billions in the healthcare costs as service coordination have clearly proven seniors can age in place with supports in order to maintain their dignity and prevent premature Skill Nursing Facility placement.” - Beth Southorn, Executive Director, LifeSTEPS
 
NAHMA commends Representative Smith for introducing legislation that will ensure millions of affordable housing residents have access to service coordinators and the essential role they provide as a linkage to supportive services and community resources.  This pandemic has elevated the critical need for service coordinators across the federally assisted portfolio, as they have been a vital resource for social connection, health and financial security, and community-based services navigation for older residents. We maintain that the mission of affordable housing is to be a platform to improve the lives of residents and communities. Service coordinators are on the frontlines of meeting our mission.” - Larry Keys, Director of Government Affairs, National Affordable Housing Managers Association
 
“New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc. (NERSC) supports the Expanding Service Coordinator Act, as it would make critical investments and expansions to the Service Coordinator Program.” - Andrea Dobras, Executive Director, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc.
 
Service coordinators have a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of the residents living in affordable housing. This legislation takes the necessary steps to ensure that more residents have access to service coordinators and the exceptional supports and resource connections they can provide. The Expanding Service Coordinators Act would make critical investments and reforms to expand the service coordinator programs to serve more people in federally assisted housing.” - Terry Spitznagel, Senior Executive Vice President, United Church Homes
 
“HumanGood began employing resident service coordinators in our affordable housing communities in the 1990’s beginning with approximately 5 resident service coordinators.  With our continued growth, we now employ 70+ resident service coordinators in almost all of our 100+ communities in California, Washington, Oregon and Pennsylvania.  As an organization, we have come to know resident services as an invaluable component of property management. Our services team not only links our residents to supportive and medical services, but also provide case management to our most vulnerable population.  The program has evolved in the last fifteen years where the demands of the health and well being of our residents has grown substantially and we are striving to meet their needs so they can continue to age in place.  Necessary training on entitlement programs, dementia, mental health conditions, adult protective services, hospitalization and nursing home admission, mitigating isolation are some of the required trainings that enable our service coordinators to be equipped to empower residents to live independently and increase self-sufficiency.  Resident services provides a positive financial impact by reducing turnovers, evictions, property damage and helps address compliance issues.  We continue to find creative ways to expand our partnerships with county providers, educational institutions, health care providers to allow us to develop new approaches and resources to address our residents’ needs. Thank you for your commitment to resident services. HumanGood is proud to be a supporter of the Expanding Service Coordinators Act.” - Linda Coleman, VP of Resident Services, HumanGood

Background
 
The Expanding Service Coordinators Act would make critical investments and reforms to expand the service coordinator programs to serve more people in federally assisted housing. Specifically, the bill would:
  • Authorize an additional $100 million each year for five years to the Multi-Family Housing Service Coordinator program.
  • Authorize a total $45 million each year for five years for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency service coordinator program.
  • Establish a training set aside to improve capacity and retention of service coordinators.
  • Extend qualification for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to service coordinators.
  • Direct GAO to report on the availability and work of service coordinators in rural areas.
Service coordinators are an underfunded resource in federally assisted housing. They help individuals navigate the complicated web of social services that can make the difference between a resident sinking or thriving. It is more important now than ever to invest in this critical workforce.
 
A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after introducing the Grant Assistance and Technical Education (GATE) Act, which would support community-based organizations by providing access to federal funding and offering technical assistance to navigate the federal grantmaking process. Community-based organizations provide critical public health services to marginalized communities across the country but often lack the capacity to apply for and obtain funding, including from the federal government.

“It is in our best interest to support community-based organizations because of the invaluable work they do to provide quality and affordable health care to our most vulnerable and underserved communities. These organizations are essential to our nation’s public health system, but many do not receive the funding they deserve because they lack the capacity to apply for and obtain funding. The GATE Act would create a position at the Department of Health and Human Services focused on helping community-based organizations secure federal funding and provide grants to support community-based organizations. Community-based organizations are closing the health equity gap in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country – this important legislation would help ensure that these organizations have the resources they need to continue and expand upon that vital work.”

Background

The GATE Act is endorsed by several organizations, including the Somali Health Board, Pacific Islander Health Board, and Refugees Northwest Counseling.

The GATE Act would:

  • Create the position of Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services to focus on assisting community-based organizations navigating the federal grantmaking process; and
  • Provide grants to state and local public health entities for the specific purpose of directing those funds to build capacity in local community-based organizations focused on addressing health inequities. Funneling funding through state and local public health entities will help reduce the burden on community-based organizations of applying for funding directly to the federal government.

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here.
The full text of the bill can be found here.

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SEATTLE, WA – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after President Biden announced that he would cancel $20,000 of federal student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 of student debt for non-Pell Grant recipients for individuals making less than $125,000 per year. The new plan also includes an important provision to allow individuals to cap repayment of undergraduate loans at 5% of their monthly income.
 
“Today’s action by President Biden will help ease financial barriers and promote economic opportunity for millions of individuals and families across the country. While this will bring relief to millions of student loan borrowers, Congress must work together to reform our postsecondary education system and make investments that will lower the cost of colleges and universities throughout the U.S. so that students are not burdened by such significant debt in the future. This means bringing down the cost of four-year institutions, making community and technical colleges tuition free, and better enabling pathways to good-paying jobs such as Registered Apprenticeships. Regardless of income or wealth, individuals should have access to postsecondary educational opportunities and job training programs without being saddled with a mountain of debt for their degree or credential.”
 
A fact sheet about the Biden-Harris Administration's Student Debt Relief Plan can be found here.

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SEATTLE, WA - Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement marking the six-month anniversary of Russia’s unlawful further invasion of Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s Independence Day. 

“President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have inspired the world with their courage and patriotism in the face of Vladimir Putin’s violent, unlawful aggression toward their country, especially in the past six months. I witnessed this resilience firsthand during my visit to Kyiv just last month, and I have been proud to support legislation that aids the Ukrainian people in their brave struggle for independence, sovereignty, and freedom. The Biden-Harris administration, along with U.S. allies and partners around the world, have provided economic, military, and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people in their time of need while also holding Putin and his accomplices accountable with unprecedented sanctions against the Russian economy and war machine. 

“Every year, communities across the United States and around the world join the Ukrainian people in celebration of Ukraine’s Independence Day - and this year’s celebrations mark an occasion for even greater pride in the Ukrainian people and the country they have built, grown, and defended with bravery against Putin’s aggression. The American people stand with Ukraine, and I hope for the year ahead to further strengthen the deep friendship between our two countries.” 

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