FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2014
Contact: Dan Levitan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646.200.5315
Coalition of 130+ Groups Launch Push for 30,000 New Units of Supportive Housing
With NY/NY III Expiring, Groups Urge Governor & Mayor to Negotiate New Agreement That Builds 15,000 Units of New Supportive Housing, Sets Aside 15,000 Others in New Affordable Housing Developments/Existing Rentals
Supportive Housing a ‘Critical Component’ of Governor and Mayor’s Efforts to Address Record NY Homelessness
NEW YORK – More than 130 organizations gathered at City Hall today to launch the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, calling on Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to negotiate a new City-State supportive housing agreement that creates 30,000 units of supportive housing for individuals and families with disabilities & other special needs over the next 10 years. The group documented a 6:1 ratio of demand to available units, demonstrating the urgent need for increased supportive housing. New York City currently faces the highest level of homelessness since the Great Depression.
“Supportive housing saved my son’s life,” said Kendra Oke, a formerly-homeless mother who now resides in a supportive housing apartment operated by Palladia, Inc. “He is autistic and his health deteriorated dramatically during the three years we spent in shelter. After applying for supportive housing nine times, we finally received an apartment, where the supportive services have allowed me to provide a stable home for myself and my son.”
“For over twenty years supportive housing has proven to be an effective solution for improving the lives of New York’s homeless families and individuals while at the same time a smart, cost effective investment for the city and state,” said Kristin Miller, Director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. “CSH is excited to once again be a partner in the movement to ensure that those who need it most will have access to safe and stable housing.”
Supportive housing has consistently proven to be the most successful and cost-effective solution to ending homelessness for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. But there is not nearly enough supply to meet the record need in New York City. The City-State supportive housing production initiative, NY/NY III, expires next year.
“We’ve come together to urge Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to make ending homelessness among the most vulnerable a top priority,” said Mary Brosnahan, President & CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless. “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.”
More than 20,000 households per year are found eligible for supportive housing, but there’s currently only one housing unit available for every six eligible applicants. This ratio will only worsen without a new City-State supportive housing agreement.
“As someone who currently sleeps in a homeless shelter, I know that supportive housing would help me and many others seek and maintain recovery,” said Kermit Jones, a homeless individual who has submitted an application for supportive housing. “And it would allow me to continue pursuing my dream to help others as a counselor.”
Previous agreements have significantly improved health and housing outcomes for homeless individuals and families living with disabilities, while saving taxpayer dollars otherwise spent on expensive institutional care (average net public savings = $10,100/unit per year.)
“As someone who has built and operated supportive housing for 25 years, I can attest to its cost-effectiveness, both in the improved quality of life for formerly homeless tenants and as a sound business model that pays its own way. It’s a win-win for taxpayers who are getting a good deal while tackling a critical social need,” said Steve Coe, Executive Director of Community Access.
“Supportive housing provides more than just housing, it gives people a place to regain their health and stabilize their lives. And in doing so, it saves taxpayers millions of dollars in expensive emergency services,” said Nicole Branca, Deputy Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York. “According to the City’s recent evaluation of the NY/NY III supportive housing program, the public saved an average of $10,000 per year for each person placed in NY/NY III housing. Now with NY/NY III coming to a close, the City will cease to have this pipeline of new housing to help people safely exit homelessness, leaving tens of thousands of people still needing a home and cycling in and out of expensive emergency services.”
“Supportive housing is a proven tool to address homelessness and housing instability for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, improving outcomes for residents and saving public funds,” said Sally Greenspan, Program Director for Vulnerable Populations at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “But in order to fulfill the promise that supportive housing holds, we must ensure continuity in government funding. Previous City-State commitments to jointly fund supportive housing have spurred momentum and increased capacity in the development community. We are confident that Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo will act quickly to create a new agreement so that we do not lose this momentum in meeting the demand for supportive housing.”
“It is time to give more vulnerable New Yorkers the chance to turn the key to supportive housing where they can achieve their goals and aspirations in our communities,” said Mark Hurwitz, President and CEO of Palladia, Inc. “The best evidence over more than three decades tells us that this investment pays for itself because it means fewer people in shelters, hospitals and jails.”
“The New York/ New York Agreements have been our city and state’s most effective and humane solution to homelessness,” said Tony Hannigan, Chief Executive Officer of CUCS.
“The Association for Community Living (ACL)’s member agencies provide housing and rehabilitative services to New Yorkers living with mental illness. ACL encourages Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to negotiate a new City-State agreement to create 30,000 units of supportive housing for homeless individuals and families with disabilities and other barriers over the next ten years, said Antonia Lasicki, Executive Director at the Association for Community Living. “The creation of additional supportive housing will assist individuals and families with disabilities to live stable and productive lives. Supportive housing is a well proven cost effective alternative to homelessness and institutional care.”
“The NY/NY agreements have been immensely successful in providing homes for New York City’s chronically homeless. At Common Ground, they have helped us build nearly 1,000 supportive housing units throughout the city. As NY/NY III comes to a close, the city desperately needs a successor to the program if Mayor de Blasio’s landmark affordable housing plan is to realize its potential for aiding our most vulnerable residents,” said Brenda Rosen, Executive Director of Common Ground, NYC’s largest supportive housing provider.
To create 30,000 units of supportive housing, the campaign urged that a new City-State agreement should:
1. Build 15,000 units of new supportive housing through new construction, rehabs and conversions.
2. Allocate 15,000 units of other supportive housing via set-asides in new affordable housing development and, where the market allows, in existing market rate rental housing.
-These units would be best suited to who do not need to live in permanent supportive housing residences to maintain stability, but just need affordable housing with less intensive and/or time-limited services.
3. Prioritize individuals with long histories of homelessness and illness, by:
-Targeting the vast majority of resources toward individuals, families (including adult families) and young adults who are homeless and vulnerable including those living with serious and persistent mental illnesses, chronic health conditions including HIV/AIDS, and long term addiction. This would include people living on the street and in the DHS, HASA, DYCD and DV shelter systems.
-Continuing what NY/NY III began by also allowing certain units targeted toward people exiting institutions into homelessness who have multiple disabilities and/or barriers to obtaining housing on their own.
-Dedicating two-thirds of the units in the new agreement (20,000 units) to individuals with the remaining one third for families (8,700 units) and youth (1,300 units). A larger proportion of the 15,000 service-enriched affordable housing and scattered-site units created by the new agreement should be allocated to families.
-Instituting a coordinated assessment and referral system with a risk assessment tool that can better match need with resources, and ensure that the most vulnerable families and individuals can access supportive housing.
4. Provide adequate funding to operate housing and provide support services.
-To be viable, funding for scattered-site supportive housing will need to adjust to market rents over time and all supportive housing will need to include long-term contracts and adequate operating and service funding to provide sufficient supports to keep tenants healthy and stable.
Advocates emphasized that the expiring agreement, NY/NY III, has been a great success. The expiring agreement has:
-Reduced use of shelters, hospitals, psych centers and incarceration, for an average net public savings of $10,100/unit per year;
-Decreased chronic homelessness among single adults by 47% in first 5 years; and
-Provided stability with more than 75% of NY/NY III tenants remaining housed after two years.
But as New York City experiences record high levels of homelessness, advocates said the State and City must work together to continue to expand the supply of supportive housing for individuals and families living with disabilities/other barriers.
The Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing has been endorsed by more than 130 organizations including:
Abba Realty Associates, Inc.
Ali Forney Center
Association for Community Living
Bailey House, Inc.
Barrier Free Living
Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.
Broadway Housing Communities
Brooklyn Community Services, Inc.
CAMBA / CAMBA Housing Ventures
Cardinal McCloskey Sunrise Drop In Center
Care for the Homeless
Catholic Charities Community Services
Catholic Charities Housing of Albany
Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc.
Catholic Charities, Brooklyn and Queens
Catholic Charities/Casa Betsaida
Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY
Center for Urban Community Services
Christa Construction LLC
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Coalition for Behavioral Health Agencies
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless
Coalition of Institutionalized Aged & Disabled
Community Access, Inc.
Concern for Independent Living
Covenant House New York
CSD Housing, LLC
Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, LLP
Dunn Development Corp.
Encore Community Services
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
Federation of Organizations
FEGS Health & Human Services
Goddard Riverside Community Center
Goldstein Hall PLLC
Good Shepherd Services
Goodwill Industries of Greater NY & Northern New Jersey
Henry Street Settlement
Hirschen Singer & Epstein LLP
Homeless Services United, Inc.
Housing and Services, Inc.
Human Services Council of New York
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Jewish Child Care Association
Joseph’s House and Shelter
Legal Action Center
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Lettire Construction Corp.
MCCNY Charities, Inc.
Mental Health Association of New York City
Nazareth Housing, Inc.
New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth
New York Housing Conference
New York State Association for Affordable Housing
Nixon Peabody, LLP
Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corp.
Northside Center for Child Development
NYC Association of Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Organizations
Odyssey House, Inc.
Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services
Pibly Residential Programs, Inc.
Pratt Area Community Council
Praxis Housing Initiatives, Inc.
Project Renewal, Inc.
Providence House, Inc.
RBC Capital Markets
Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC
Riverdale Mental Health Association
Saint Joseph’s Medical Center
SCO Family of Services
SDI Laundry Solutions
Service Program for Older People, Inc.
Services for the Underserved
Settlement Housing Fund
Sky Light Center
St. Francis Residences
Staten Island Mental Health Society
Steinway Child and Family Services
Supportive Housing Network of New York
Teens Against Crime
The Actors Fund
The Arker Companies
The Doe Fund
The Fortune Society
The Housing Collaborative, LLC
The Hudson Companies, Inc.
Thorpe Family Residence, Inc.
Transitional Services for New York, Inc.
Unique People Services, Inc.
United Neighborhood Houses
Urban Architectural Initiatives RA P.C.
Urban Builders Collaborative, LLC
Urban Pathways, Inc.
Volunteers of America Greater New York
West End Residences HDFC, Inc.
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc.