Governor Carney Marks Milestone in Housing Delawareans in Need

State Rental Assistance Program has housed 1,200 clients on 5th anniversary of collaboration

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney celebrated Monday the fifth anniversary of the State Rental Assistance Program, which has provided housing for 1,200 Delawareans through a unique collaboration supporting those in special need of help. The anniversary event took place at the Herman S. Holloway Campus of the Department of Health and Social Services.

“We are providing a bridge to independence, helping more Delawareans live self-sufficient lives,” said Governor Carney. “SRAP is a great example of how government agencies can work together to more efficiently deliver important services, and effectively help Delawareans in need. Thank you also to members of the General Assembly for their continued support of the program.”

The State Rental Assistance Program, or SRAP, provides rental vouchers to low-income Delawareans who require affordable housing and supportive services to live safely and independently in the community. Case managers help provide or coordinate those services and help residents through the rental process. SRAP helps particularly vulnerable populations – people exiting or at risk of admission to state long-term care institutions, youth aging out of foster care, and families for whom housing is a barrier to reunification, among others. All clients must be referred by an agency or partner.

Since 2011, more than 200 SRAP clients have successfully transitioned out of the program, either by handling rental payments on their own or by receiving housing assistance from another source. There are more than 720 families and individuals currently housed through SRAP.

SRAP client Zoraida Baez found the first apartment she has lived in that she can call her own through the program. “It’s such a relief,” said Baez, of Newark, who has also experienced homelessness. “I love it. I can come and go when I want. It’s my own place.”

SRAP is operated jointly by the Delaware State Housing Authority, which issues the vouchers; the Department of Health and Social Services, which refers clients in various programs; and the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, which refers former foster youth and reunification families. Funding comes from the state’s General Fund through DSHA, as well as through DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, totaling $5.3 million.

“This is about caring for the whole person – not just looking at one part of their needs at a time,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “We heard from advocates that the lack of affordable housing is a barrier to many low-income people and families with special needs to live and be successful, and we responded. This partnership shows that it is possible to serve people better, with a better quality of life, while reducing public costs.”

“The State Rental Assistance Program gives vulnerable populations the one thing we all want: The opportunity to have a place to call home,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “For people leaving facilities or individuals with disabilities, these housing vouchers offer an affordable and safe way for them to live in the community. It’s not always easy to start anew, but the teamwork of SRAP makes the transition manageable, including clients to supportive services. The collaboration across state government provides a better quality of life for the vulnerable people we serve, saves the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and helps us build a healthier Delaware.”

“For young people leaving our foster care system, the challenges of transitioning to adulthood can be quite daunting. Sometimes their most basic needs, like a safe and affordable home, can seem unobtainable,” said DSCYF Secretary Josette Manning. “The SRAP program helps our youth secure a home so they can focus on meeting their other needs, such as education, employment and even basic health services. We are extremely grateful for this program because without it, it would be impossible for our foster children to thrive as adults.”

 

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Governor Carney Releases Initial Report of Department of Correction Independent Review

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday released the initial report of the Independent Review into causes of the February 1 hostage incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. A final report is due to the Governor by August 15.

“I’d like to thank Judge Chapman and former U.S. Attorney Oberly. The review team has worked hard to examine the conditions that may have contributed to the February 1 incident, and to recommend changes that will help us improve security inside James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and across Delaware’s correctional system,” said Governor Carney. “I am continuing to review the recommendations. But as I have said since February, we will take this report seriously. It will not collect dust on a shelf. We are committed to taking appropriate action that will enhance safety and security for Delaware’s correctional officers and inmates at Vaughn and at all of Delaware’s correctional facilities. We owe that to Lieutenant Floyd and all the victims of the February 1 incident.”

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Governor Carney’s Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Withdraw U.S. from the Paris Agreement

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday released a statement following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“I am deeply disappointed that President Trump has chosen to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement that united nations across the globe in a fight against climate change. Already the effects of climate change are taking a toll on Delawareans, as sea levels rise and extreme weather events increase driven by warming of the planet from carbon dioxide. As one of the country’s lowest-lying states and with 381 miles of coastline, Delaware also is vulnerable to climate change’s ominous meteorological impacts. Sea level rise exacerbates flooding that occurs during storms and warming ocean waters may cause stronger hurricanes and tropical storms. More than 17,000 homes and 500 miles of roadway in the state are at risk of permanent inundation. Rising average temperatures and prolonged heat waves pose critical health threats to Delaware’s agriculturalists, outdoor workers, children, and elderly in particular. These threats will only increase. The world is now on notice that without the United States’ leadership in reducing greenhouse gases that fuel rapid climate change, it’s an even greater uphill battle for future generations facing this ever-encroaching threat.”

In May, Governor Carney joined 11 other governors in writing a letter to urge President Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon pollution and combat climate change.

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Governor Carney Signs Package of Legislation to Combat Addiction Crisis

New laws expand access to substance abuse treatment, remove insurance barriers, and strengthen oversight of prescriptions

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100, a bipartisan package of legislation that will expand access to substance abuse treatment, strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions, and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis.

Governor Carney signed the legislation during a ceremony that included remarks from Attorney General Matt Denn, members of the General Assembly, and Delaware advocates for improved access to substance abuse treatment – including families who have lost loved ones to Delaware’s opioid epidemic.

May 30 Bill Signings

“Far too many Delawareans, and Delaware families, have been affected by this crisis,” said Governor Carney. “These new laws represent a significant step forward in our efforts to combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic. To the Delaware families who have lost loved ones to addiction, and who are now fighting to prevent others from experiencing the same fate, your work is nothing short of inspiring. To the Delawareans who are using your own experience with substance abuse to help others, know that you are making a difference. We will continue to follow your lead. Thank you to Attorney General Denn and members of the General Assembly for your continued urgency on this issue.”

“The credit for these bills should go to the Delawareans who have overcome substance abuse, and the families who lost loved ones to drug overdoses, who stepped forward and shared their thoughts about where the system was failing and how it could be improved,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “We listened and tried to turn their suggestions into laws, but the ideas came from those families, and after giving us the ideas they stood shoulder to shoulder with us to make sure the bills were passed.”

“I truly feel that every life matters,” said MaryBeth Cichocki, who lost her son to opioid addiction, and advocated for the new laws. “We are all one injury or surgery away from the disease that continues to take the lives of those we love. As long as I breathe, Matt will continue to live.”

“We are grGov. Carney signs legislation.ateful for all those responsible for the passing of these bills,” said Don Keister, a founder of atTAcK Addiction, whose son lost his battle with addiction. “When families need help, it’s important that services are available without additional delays. If these laws had been around when our son was battling this disease, he may still be alive today.”

Legislation signed into law on Tuesday will take a number of steps to expand access to substance abuse treatment, target barriers to insurance coverage, and improve Delaware’s response to the addiction epidemic.

The package will:

• Prevent private insurers from using pre-authorization and referral requirements to delay access to substance abuse treatment;
• Require insurance companies to cover 14 days of substance abuse treatment before conducting a “utilization review” that can delay treatment;
• Limit insurance companies from denying substance abuse treatment based on “medical necessity” grounds;
• Allow the Department of Justice to use consumer protection funds to advocate for those being denied coverage based on “medical necessity” grounds;
• Establish a new committee to help oversee opioid prescriptions, and strengthen the oversight of over-prescription.

“Even with limitless support, battling addiction is incredibly difficult. But it shouldn’t be made harder by insurance companies and health care providers standing in the way of critical treatment,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, the lead Senate sponsor of House Bill 100. “I am grateful to Governor Carney for signing this important legislation into law, so Delawareans never again have to worry about whether they’re covered by insurance before seeking substance abuse treatment that could save their lives.”

“Delawareans who take the initiative to seek treatment for substance abuse shouldn’t have to wade through red tape to get the help they need,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 41. “I appreciate the Attorney General’s leadership in helping us pass this important legislation, which ensures that insurance companies are forbidden from imposing pre-certifications, screenings, prior authorizations or referrals for those ready to make the potentially life-saving decision to get help.”

“In light of the scourge of addiction, we need to get these people appropriate treatment, when it’s needed,” said Senator Dave Lawson. “Current coverages are insufficient.”

“These measures are necessary first steps towards addressing the needs of a significant portion of the more than 90,000 Delawareans currently suffering from addiction. We mustn’t fail to provide safety-nets for those in need of immediate treatment, and we must work to ensure current policies align with the increasing needs of Delawareans affected by addiction,” said Senator Anthony Delcollo. “Lastly, we cannot continue to operate in a vacuum when addressing addiction, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to aggressively pursue solutions to improve the lives of almost 100,000 Delawareans affected by this horrific disease.”

“If people struggle and stumble as they seek treatment, they should have the ability to come back and get treated again. Addiction is a disease, just like cancer and diabetes, and should be considered as one when it comes to medical treatment. Delawareans struggling with addiction should be extended a helping hand when they seek treatment, not have the door shut in their faces,” said Representative Helene Keeley, the prime Bill Signingssponsor of House Bill 100. “These combined efforts provide us with the necessary resources to battle the opioid epidemic in the First State and remove the stigma associated with substance abuse.”

“These bills will help save lives in Delaware and I am proud to be part of this effort to combat the disease of addiction. Substance abuse treatment helps people reintegrate into society and lead productive lives,” said Representative Michael Mulrooney, the prime sponsor of House Bill 91. “If we deny people suffering from substance abuse the treatment they need, it can lead them to relapse and either end up in the criminal justice system or worse.”

“This package of legislation represents best practices that we are implementing in Delaware in order to strategically address our concerns in battling the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Representative Ruth Briggs King. “And, we are not done yet. Other bills, such as the substance-exposed infant legislation is working its way through Legislative Hall and should be our next primary focus in this ongoing effort to combat this epidemic.”

“These bills are key to fighting the opioid epidemic in Delaware because they address a very important component of this process – making sure adequate treatment is available to those who need it,” said Representative Tim Dukes. “Without access to treatment, all our efforts may as well be considered for nothing.”

“Collectively, these bills also add to the public awareness that addiction is a disease, that it can be treated, and people do recover,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. “With addiction, we know that when people are ready for treatment, the window can be small in terms of connecting them to that critical care. At the Department of Health and Social Services, we will do everything in our power to connect that person to the treatment they seek.”

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Related news:
Delaware to Participate in NGA’s Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network
DHSS Relaunches ‘Help is Here’ Website with Accompanying Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Campaign


Governor Carney Will Sign Package of Legislation to Combat Addiction Crisis

Legislation expands access to substance abuse treatment, and strengthens oversight of prescriptions

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday will sign into law Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100, a package of legislation that will expand access to substance abuse treatment, strengthen oversight of opiate prescription patterns and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis.

WHEN:     2 p.m., Tuesday, May 30

WHERE:  Governor’s Office, Carvel State Office Building, 12th Floor
820 N. French Street, Wilmington

WHO:     Governor John Carney
Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long
Attorney General Matt Denn
Senator Stephanie Hansen
Senator Margaret Rose Henry
Senator Anthony Delcollo
Representative Helene Keeley
Representative Michael Mulrooney
Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary, Department of Health and Social Services
MaryBeth Cichocki
Dave Humes, atTAcK Addiction
Gail Humes, atTAcK Addiction
Don Keister, atTAcK Addiction
Jeanne Keister, atTAcK Addiction
Additional advocates