Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Syracuse Mental Health Advocates March (Again) for Adequate Funding for Housing Programs

Scott Willis

About a dozen people marched around the state office building today calling on the governor and lawmakers to properly fund housing programs for those with mental illness.  They’ve been holding these weekly marches for the past month as part of a statewide “bring it home” campaign. 

Director of residential programs at CNY Services Tracy Lord-Mortas says the governor’s proposed a $10 million  increase in funding for mental health issues falls far short.

“There are 40,000 units of mental health houses across New York state, so you can imagine that $10 million...also given how far behind inflation we are. We haven’t got any significant increase in over ten years, at least not significant enough increase to get us where we need to be.”

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Lord-Mortas says without proper housing, those with mental illness can’t get the support they need, and end up in and out of hospitals and even jail.  Long-time activist Agnes McCray says it can become a vicious cycle. 

“The justice system cannot be the answer. It not the cure all and all. And it’s sad to see how many are there, had nowhere to go, and are back on the street.”

The advocates are hoping lawmakers allocate more funding for mental health housing during the final week of budget negotiations.  The state budget deadline is April first.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at