VOICE wins NAACP award

VOICE is receiving the 2023 Charles P. Monroe Civil Rights Award for “increasing public participation in county government and politics” from NAACP Arlington Branch, as a result of our Missing Middle partnership with NAACP.

The Charles P. Monroe Civil Rights Award honors the former County Board Chairman, Charles P. Monroe. He was a community activist engaged in increasing public participation in County government and politics. He was also an advocate for affordable housing and other issues affecting the financially disadvantaged. This award is granted to an individual or group/organization that has advocated for the civil rights of those living in Arlington County.

Meeting with Governor Youngkin

On July 9th nearly 800 of us watched Governor Youngkin commit to three things: 

  1. Increasing Crisis Receiving Center funding. We asked for $110 million and have so far secured $58 million, and continue to push for more.
  2. Making youth behavioral health his top priority—which he agreed to.
  3. Meeting with coalition leaders from VOICE, the VA Association of Police Chiefs and the VA Hospitals and Healthcare Association later in the fall to receive additional policy recommendations.

In August and September VOICE worked with our coalition partners to convene over a dozen organizations for a multi-week process. We conducted surveys, facilitated an all-day priority-setting meeting, and drafted policies. The result was three top policy priorities that the group presented yesterday to the Governor and key staff.

Sign up to hear from Reverend Sessoms and VOICE staff about how the meeting went and what this process has been like.

Budget Success!

After many long months of fierce debate between the two parties, on Thursday Virginia’s legislature finally passed a budget for the state.

The budget has good news for VOICE’s core behavioral health priorities. 

Our organizing, together with our key coalition partners, delivered $68 million of investment into desperately-needed behavioral health priority areas, $60 million of which is new spending.

Specifically, the state has allocated $58 million for the establishment and expansion of Crisis Receiving Centers (up from $7.5 million last year) and $10 million (up from $0 last year) for hospital-based emergency psychiatric programs.

With new funding on the way, new Crisis Receiving Centers are being proposed across the state, including potential projects in the pipeline in our backyard of Northern Virginia. 

Had the budget been passed in the spring during the usual time period for doing so, we believe that we would have seen even higher investment into our priorities. Nevertheless, this represents a major accomplishment that you should feel proud of.

VOICE: these investments will save lives. Hats off for your amazing work!! 

Stayed tuned for updates on our progress engaging Gov. Youngkin and his administration on improving youth behavioral health outcomes in the Commonwealth, following up from our July 9th assembly.

You can read more about the final state budget here.

Governor Glenn Youngkin