A coalition of advocates that provide services to people with mental health and addiction problems blasted the proposed coronavirus stimulus legislation in the U.S. Senate for not including money to aid state and local governments in the country.
The groups, which are already modestly funded in New York, are facing potentially steep cuts in aid if New York does not receive direct support from the federal government to offset the billions of dollars in lost tax revenue.
"Millions of children are missing their routines, activities and education," the groups said. "Taken nationally, countless Americans are facing foreclosures, bankruptcies, broken families, serious depression and ever rising rates of suicide and fatal drug overdose—all while the COVID virus continues to spread."
Signing onto the criticism of the Senate plan incldues the Association for Community Living, the Coalition for Behavioral Health, the Mental Health Association in NYS, and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.
Local and state governments across the country have lost billions of dollars amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment has soared at the same time. And advocates worry the conditions are leading to increased problems for those with mental health needs and addiction.
"The Senate’s proposal fails to address growing hunger and housing insecurity, unemployment and loss of healthcare coverage, especially for hard hit African American, Latinx and immigrant households," the groups said.
"Moreover, it fails to replenish funding for the essential services and supports that state and local governments provide, all while the federal government watches the pandemic spread and heaps harm on ever rising numbers of Americans in crisis."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said New York may need to institute across-the-board cuts of up to 20 percent if federal aid isn't approved
For now, it's not clear when the Senate version of the stimulus proposal will be reconciled with the House version.
"Senate Republicans must immediately enter into meaningful negotiations with the House to produce legislation that averts a catastrophic economic and health crisis," the group said.