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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