Advocacy is our North Star. The tool that will truly unlock our mission of helping clients lead stable, fulfilling lives in their chosen community. That’s because we believe that it is not enough to only support immediate mental health needs; we must champion an entire systems change. Advocating for policy changes and investments is the path toward more equitably – more successfully – supporting the clients and communities we serve.
And we have seen real and meaningful progress in developing relationships with elected representatives and agency staff, in working together to fix policy problems and fund urgently needed infrastructure. But complex systems, particularly mental health and housing systems, don’t change overnight. That’s why our legislative focus remains steadfast on transforming our mental health and housing support systems into a comprehensive spectrum of care. Here’s what we’re focused on this year:
Our 2024 Legislative Session Priorities
Fixes to Assertive Community Treatment (ACT):
- Align requirements with current staffing realities while maintaining care quality.
- Reduce barriers to expand ACT services to cover more counties in the state.
- Enhance transparency regarding Department of Human Services (DHS) certification standards.
Changes to Cost-Based Rate Setting Calculation:
These proposed changes would…
- Enable Guild to cover anticipated staffing and capital costs.
- Alleviate cash flow pressures, thereby increasing program support capacity.
- Address disincentives in rate systems that hinder full capacity operation and quality care provision.
- Facilitate smaller, culturally specific organizations’ ability to offer services.
- Mitigate ER pressures on hospitals due to psychiatric bed shortages through increased capacity.
- Allow MinnesotaCare coverage of room and board costs.
Investments in Housing Support
In the last legislative session, historic investments in infrastructure and support marked a commendable start. Yet, we must remember that “home” transcends bricks and mortar — our clients require comprehensive support beyond shelter. This funding will…
- Bolster services for individuals with Serious Mental Illness, enabling them to live independently in their chosen communities.
- Increase funding for HSASMI (Housing with Supports for Adults with Serious Mental Illness) grants by $2 million per year.
- Support efforts to increase access to and investments in supportive housing services and to strengthen Housing Stabilization, with a focus on enrollment and payment processes.
- Specify in statute that a landlord may not bar, limit, or impose a penalty on a residential tenant for calling for police or emergency assistance in response to mental health or health crises.
The Minnesota Legislative Session begins on February 12, 2024. As our elected representatives get to work, we’ll keep you updated on ways you can get involved to enact change in support of our clients and mission. Check back regularly for updates.
Last updated February 9, 2024.
You Can Help
- Review our Advocacy 101 blog for specific ways to get started working with your legislators.
- Talk about mental health in your social circles, family, and colleagues in ways that reduce stigma.
- Follow us on social media and subscribe to our e-newsletter (at the bottom of this page!).
- Get involved in your local advisory councils.
- Reach out to your local, state, and national representatives to advocate for policy change.
- Save the dates and plan to join us for two important advocacy days of action: Mental Health Day on the Hill (March 7) and Homeless Day on the Hill (March 20).
The Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN) 2024 Agenda
Guild is a proud member of the Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN): a broad coalition that advocates for a statewide mental health system that is of high quality, accessible, and has stable funding. The organizations in the MHLN all work together to create visibility on mental health issues, act as a clearinghouse on public policy issues, and pool our knowledge, resources, and strengths to create change.
As part of our work together, we’ve developed a complete 2024 legislative agenda—the “Blue Book”—which guides the priorities listed above. It includes helpful information such as issue descriptions, background information, and specific policy recommendations for each priority area that can be used to increase your personal knowledge of the issues, and equip you with important information when speaking with your legislators.