Georgia Budget 2015-2016
The Governor's Recommendation for the 2015 Session
The Georgia Budget shows us the state's priorities. It is quite readable and easy to determine what is new about state programs. It can be found at the website of the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget. An interesting portion of the Governor's budget report includes the performance measures for each department. Click here to go to the OPB site and FY 16 budget. Here are some highlights we have found regarding criminal justice reform and mental health reform.
Department of Behavioral Health will:
- Add 250 new NOW and COMP Waiver slots at a cost of $6.9 million in FY 16. This is part of the Settlement Agreement.
- Fund three new behavioral health crisis centers at a cost of $2.3 million in FY 16. Also a DOJ Settlement mandate.
- While DBHDD requested a total of $1,173 million in FY 16 but the governor recommended only $1,158 million. The budget document does not tell us what was left out. The total is about the same as FY 13. Part of the drag on expenditures is a decrease of $20 million in federal support for the Department's programs.
- There has been an increase in the Adult Mental Health line of $60 million since FY 13.
- The Georgia Housing Voucher program is part of the continuation budget and is not found in the cuts and adds listed in the budget document. The budget continues the support for 2000 vouchers but does not add new funding in FY 16. A small number of new vouchers will become available as people leave the program. Some persons will be able to move to the DCA Section 8 program under the HUD granted preference.
DBHDD Performance Measures of Interest between FY 2011 and FY 2014
- The number of adults served in state institutions dropped by nearly half.
- It is a surprise that the number of adult mental health consumers served in the community has remained about the same. Maybe the expansion of community based services has just failed to show in this measure.
- Persons receiving DD services in the community has dropped from 17,000 to 14,000 and the number of consumers on the waiting list for services has risen to over 7,000.
- Fewer homeless adults receiving community mental health services are obtaining stable housing. The percentage dropped from 35% in FY 12 to 30% in FY 14. While there has been some effort to expand the State's supportive housing capacity, it has not affected this performance measure. It is an indication that the state must make a greater effort to expand the supportive housing capacity.
- The Department of Corrections will add and expand programs to prepare returning citizens for a stable life in communities. There is a limited investment in housing but a significant investment in preparing persons leaving prison for life in the community. As a general rule the Department has been allowed to invest the savings from a declining prison population into services that will reduce the reconviction rate and the total prison population.
The FY 15 and FY 16 budget will:
- Fund five community reentry initiatives (5 counselors, 5 coordinators, one housing coordinator) at $1,280 million.
- Increase the intensive probation supervision in the five cities at a cost of $.467 million.
- Expand the Reentry Housing Program with $.830 million. The expansion will focus on persons leaving prison on probation with no immediate residential plan. The state will be seeking new providers.
- Increase GED program funding by $2,540 million in a variety of settings.
- Add 48 positions to enhance vocational and academic education at a cost of nearly $6 million.
- Expand diesel mechanics and welding vocational programs with $1.287 million
- Expand the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program from six months to nine months and add another facility at a cost of $1.4 million.
Corrections performance measures of interest between FY 2011 and FY 2014
- The reconviction rate for persons who spent time in Transition Centers was a consistent 18% while the rate from Prisons and Detentions Centers was in the mid 20's.
- The number of persons receiving GED diplomas while in prison declined from 958 in FY 2011 to 605 in FY 2014 and from 263 to 95 in Detention Centers. These numbers show the need to invest more in GED programs which the FY 16 budget is doing.
2015 Qualified Application Plan (QAP)
The QAP is developed by The Department of Community Affairs and is signed by the Governor. The 2015 QAP, which is ready for the Governor's signature, establishes the rules by which the State's allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits are awarded to private developers. It also sets the rules for the use of federal HOME dollars and, in some respects, the general housing policy of the state. The program supports about $160 million in new construction. It is the largest amount of capital available for affordable housing Here are some provisions that will effect the development of supportive housing in 2015:
It says that DCA's goal to provide the full range of housing options leads it to a decision to "focus funding on providing an adequate supply of housing in an integrated setting." In its definitions it states that a property is not integrated when it targets "more than 20% of the units to individuals with disabilities." There are other criteria but this 20% rule must be met before looking at other factors. This language excludes the development of small single site projects, quadruplexes, duplexes, or single family housing for the next year.
An application can get two points in the competition if it accepts section 811 rental assistance for up to 10% of the units for integrated housing if the rental assistance becomes available. Such projects would also need to have 5% of the units be one bedroom units.
There are three points for projects in jurisdictions where housing authorities are offering preferences to persons targeted in the Settlement.
The provision from last year which required developers receiving supportive housing points to have an agreement with a service provider has been eliminated. There is no requirement for the developer to coordinate with a service provider when seeking points for "integrated housing."
One point is awarded for projects that preserve an existing "congregate" project.
Georgia Supportive Housing Association | 660 Woodland Ave | Atlanta, | GA | 30316