More Supportive Housing for Homeless New Yorkers

On May 29th, the Coalition joined with more than 140 organizations on the steps of City Hall for the launch of the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing. The campaign calls for Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to negotiate a new City-State agreement to create 30,000 supportive housing units over the next ten years for homeless individuals and families with disabilities and other special needs.

Previous City-State agreements have historically resulted in improved health and housing outcomes for homeless individuals and families living with disabilities, while saving taxpayer dollars otherwise spent on expensive institutional care. It is a life-changing and life-saving resource.

Erin Clarke reports for NY1:

“Homeless for years, Eddie Brito now has a studio apartment that looks like any other in the city, and for the first time in his life, he’s paying rent and bills.

“I thought that I couldn’t live alone, and I’m doing it. I don’t believe it,” Brito said.

Brito lives in supportive housing, buildings that offer affordable or mixed-income apartments and on-site social services to people who need extra support to live alone.

They are typically for the mentally ill, disabled and those homeless for a number of reasons, like Kendra Oke, a victim of domestic violence who was previously stuck in the shelter system with a son who has autism.

“They have counselors. They have case management. They have a child life specialist, and they have, there’s therapist and women’s groups and all kinds of things to get us back into society,” Oke said.”

“Our tenants tend to be folks who historically have cost a lot of taxpayer money going through emergency systems,” said Jessica Katz, assistant commissioner for special needs housing with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.”

The supportive housing model has not only proven successful in stabilizing individuals and families in permanent housing, but is also undeniably beneficial for surrounding neighborhoods. A study conducted by the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy Policy analyzed supportive housing residences built in New York City between 1985 and 2003 and found that property values around supportive housing developments increased over time.

Unfortunately the current supportive housing agreement between the City and the State – New York/New York III – ends next year, and there are not nearly enough units available to meet the record demand. More than 20,000 households per year are found eligible for supportive housing, but there’s only one housing unit available for every six eligible applicants.

A new agreement is urgently needed. As Mary Brosnahan, President & CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless, stated:

“We’ve come together to urge Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to make ending homelessness among the most vulnerable a top priority. In the richest city in the world, literally thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities and special needs will go to sleep tonight without a home. And the biggest tragedy is that we know what works. The housing with support services from past City-State New York/New York Agreements have been the most effective tool to reducing chronic homelessness for our most marginalized neighbors. Supportive housing gives them a home – and, perhaps most importantly, keeps them housed, long-term. People who live in New York/New York housing have significantly improved health and housing outcomes and it saves taxpayers millions. But the need for this housing has never been greater: We have just one housing unit for every six applicants in dire need. That’s why it’s imperative that the Governor and Mayor enact a new agreement – NY/NY IV – to create 30,000 units of supportive housing over the next decade.”

Ted Houghton, Executive Director of Supportive Housing Network of New York, emphasized the need for a new supportive housing agreement in an interview for Capital New York after the rally:

“Supportive housing is the most successful social intervention of the last quarter century,”[ …]“It really not only improves people’s lives, it strengthens communities and it saves taxpayers money. Despite all the success, we now have a situation where the development pipeline—our ability to build new units of supportive housing, to help the 53,000 people who are homeless every night in New York City, people who are institutionalized, people who are just high-cost users of the health system—our ability to build more units for those vulnerable populations is in jeopardy because we need a new city-state agreement to create a target for how many more units we’re going to build and how we’re going to pay for it.”

For more information about the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, visit: You may also follow the Campaign on Twitter @4NYNYHousing.

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