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Eligibility for Supportive Housing

To be NY/NY I and II eligible (or eligible for supportive housing created by these agreements), individuals have to be homeless and have a serious and persistent mental health condition. For example, Major Depression, Bipolar disorder, and Schizophrenia are just a few of the diagnoses that could help someone qualify for supportive housing. To be eligible for NY/NY III, individuals have to meet the same criteria described above and have to be chronically homeless, meaning homeless for at least one out of the past two years OR homeless for two of the past four years.

There is a separate eligibility category for individuals who have a serious and persistent mental health condition, but who are not homeless. This is known as the mental health category, or MH. While there are supportive housing options for individuals who are eligible under the MH category, there are fewer vacancies available and this can make finding a placement more difficult.

The majority of supportive housing is available to individuals who meet the criteria described above, but when the NY/NY III agreement was passed there were additional eligibility categories created with more limited options for other special needs populations. A summary of the additional eligibility categories is below.

  • Chronically homeless families, or families at serious risk of becoming chronically homeless, in which the head of the household suffers from a serious mental health issue, substance abuse disorder, a disabling medical condition, or HIV/AIDS.
  • Single adults presently living in New York State-operated psychiatric centers or State-operated transitional residences who could live independently in the community if provided with supportive housing, and who would be at risk of street or sheltered homelessness if discharged without supportive housing.
  • Chronically homeless single adults who are persons living with HIV/AIDS and who suffer from a co-occurring serious and persistent mental health condition, a substance abuse disorder, or a MICA disorder.
  • Chronically homeless single adults who have a substance abuse disorder that is a primary barrier to independent living and who also have a disabling clinical condition that further impairs their ability to live independently.
  • Homeless single adults who have completed a course of treatment for a substance abuse disorder and are at risk of street homelessness or sheltered homelessness and who need transitional supportive housing to sustain sobriety and achieve independent living.
  • Young adults, ages 18-24, who have a serious mental health condition being treated in New York State licensed residential treatment or State psychiatric facilities who could live independently in the community if provided with supportive housing and who would be at risk of street or sheltered homelessness if discharged without supportive housing.
  • Young adults (ages 18-25) leaving or having recently left foster care, or who had been in foster care for more than a year after their 16th birthday, and who are at risk of street homelessness or sheltered homelessness.

The NYC 15/15 program includes eligibility for four populations:

  • Chronically homeless single adults with a serious mental illness (SMI), a substance use disorder (SUD) including those who are actively using or have started their recovery process within the past 12 months, or those who may have a co-occurring SMI and SUD.
  • Chronically homeless families or families at serious risk of becoming chronically homeless, in which the head of the household suffers from a SMI, SUD (including those who are actively using or have started their recovery process within the past 12 months), or those who may have a co-occurring SMI and SUD.
  • Single young adults, ages 18-25, with high service utilization who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including aging out of foster care.
  • Young adults, ages 18-25, who are pregnant or the head of household with high service utilization.

The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative program serves families, individuals, and/or young adults who are both homeless and who are identified as having an unmet housing need, and have one or more disabling conditions or other life challenges, including:

  • Serious mental illness (SMI);
  • Substance use disorder (SUD);
  • Persons living with HIV or AIDS;
  • Victims/survivors of domestic violence;
  • Military service with disabilities, including veterans with other than honorable discharge;
  • Chronic homelessness as defined by HUD, including families and individuals experiencing street homelessness or long-term shelter stays;
  • Youth/young adults who left foster care within the prior five years and who were in foster care at or over age 16;
  • Homeless young adults between 18 and 25 years old;
  • Adults, youth, or young adults reentering the community from incarceration or juvenile justice placement, particularly those with disabling conditions;
  • Frail or disabled seniors;
  • Individuals with I/DD; and
  • Individuals who are Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) high-cost Medicaid populations (MRT Eligible).

Please note, the NY 15/15 and ESSHI units will be developed over the next 15 years. As of early 2018, very few units were open and available for application. For more information on how to apply for supportive housing click here.