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Policy and Advocacy Blog





Arlington, VA – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement from Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. on the disappointing U.S. Supreme Court ruling in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson:

“More than 250,000 Americans will sleep outside tonight because no safe and accessible shelter options are available. This number is more than a statistic for NAMI, it includes too many in our communities who live with mental illness.

Today’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson that effectively allows the criminalization of homelessness will undoubtedly have devasting consequences for people with mental illness who are unhoused. By allowing communities to pass laws that criminalize sleeping in public when no other safe and accessible shelter is available, people experiencing homelessness could face increased interactions with law enforcement, steep fines that perpetuate financial instability, and additional barriers to steady employment and stable housing – the opposite of what people need on their path to recovery and wellness. People with mental illness are already overrepresented in our criminal justice system; this ruling only exacerbates a systemic problem.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Policymakers should focus on policies and programs that expand access to stable, safe and affordable housing for people with mental illness rather than criminalizing the basic needs of people experiencing homelessness. The NAMI Alliance will continue fighting to ensure everyone has the services and supports – like housing – that they need to get well and stay well.”




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“Most of the workforce is white (and) affluent. With NAMI, we talk with people all over the state, and what I hear consistently from Latino communities, people of color, and minority communities is they want a provider that looks like them; someone from their own community so they can understand their struggles. And there’s a real lack of diversity in that workforce. So a lot of those communities don’t look for mental healthcare.”

— Nepomuceno

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Updated: Jun 23, 2023



On April 4 th , NAMI WA Board Member, Debbie Ranniger and Director of Public Policy, Anna Nepomuceno, had the opportunity to participate in Senator Patty Murray’s roundtable on behavioral health. Debbie shared her story with Senator Murray and we both asked for more federal funding for mental health, particularly for the 988 Crisis Response System, increasing the behavioral healthcare workforce and funding for the National Institute of Mental Health for their continued research. It was an honor to be a part of this amazing roundtable where we had the opportunity to speak to Senator Murray directly on Washington’s behavioral health needs. We want to thank Senator Murray for her commitment and continued support for improving our behavioral healthcare system.


-- Anna Nepomuceno, Director of Public Policy for NAMI Washington

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