WMU: Unspent MHSA Funds; $30 Million Available for TAY Housing

WMU: Unspent MHSA Funds; $30 Million Available for TAY Housing

The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox each week!

News:

Governor Looks to Leverage Unspent MHSA Funds
Capital Public Radio – 5.17.18

Governor Brown is looking to leverage billions in unspent funds allocated to counties across California under the Mental Health Services Act. The effort is in light of an audit in February indicating that unspent county funds have accumulated to $2.5 billion. As part of this process, Brown is spending $6.7 million hiring staff at the Department of Health Care Services to oversee how counties are using the MHSA funds.

Meanwhile, the CA Assembly and Senate are considering two bills, respectively, that make proposals about how best to leverage the unspent funds. 80% of the funding is currently spent on services, and 20% on prevention.

The new Assembly bill, AB 2843, seeks to decentralize the remaining MHSA dollars from state to local government agencies and entities that provide mental health services, including school districts and city governments. The Senate bill, SB 1004, advocates for the prevention funds to address “early psychosis and mood disorder detection, mental health outreach for young adults, with an emphasis on colleges; and childhood trauma prevention and intervention services.”

The Steinberg Institute’s Government Affairs Director, Adrienne Shilton, said that some of the challenges with the unspent funds relate to unclear instructions in MHSA’s framing about how the money is returned.

“Until the Mental Health Services Act, there wasn’t a funding stream, in the public system at least, to get to people before they had a diagnosed mental illness,” Shilton said.

$30 Million Available for TAY Foster Youth and Family Housing
John Burton Advocates for Youth – 5.8.18

Earlier in May, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $30 million to public housing authorities to administer the Family Unification Program. The program gives Housing Choice Vouchers to families whose reunification with their child impacts their housing. It includes youth 18 to 24 who left foster care at age 16, or will leave foster care within 90 days.

According to John Burton Advocates for Youth, 33 housing authorities in California administer 3,159 FUP Vouchers. These vouchers greatly help reduce homelessness among Transition Age Youth (TAY) coming from foster care. Interested families can find information about the program here.

The current closing date for applications is July 24, 2018.

More Stories:

How homelessness affects Foster TAY in LA
Youth Today — 5.18.18

Lawmakers audit children’s Medi-Cal for racial disparities
California Health Report — 5.17.18

Drug education turns to harm reduction
KQED — 5.16.18

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