485 VOICE leaders across 39 member and allied institutions packed out Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon and made a unified demand for action toward Crisis Receiving Centers in Northern VA.
This past year VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) and their allies have fought hard to win substantial funding from the state to create and expand mental health Crisis Receiving Centers (CRCs) throughout the Commonwealth, especially in Northern VA. The Senate and House have finalized their respective budgets and are now heading to crossover, where the House will take up the Senate’s budget, and vice versa.
As a result of the collective power that VOICE and their coalition partners have built around CRC funding, a real difference is being made. The House has recommended $83 million towards CRC funding ($13 million above the initial $70 million ask) and the Senate recommended $88 million ($18 million above the initial ask). Last year, the state only allocated $7.5 million total for CRCs, so this is significant progress.
Among many other actions VOICE has taken, over the past few weeks, a team of 40 VOICE leaders have conducted 17 small group meetings with General Assembly members to urge support for this funding and several more are scheduled. There is still a long way to go to ensure this funding stays in the final budget, but all the hard work is paying off.