With Record Homelessness, Councilmembers and Advocates Call for Urgent Action on NY-NY IV Supportive Housing Agreement

For Immediate Release:  December 8, 2014
Contact: Dan Levitan, Dan@Berlinrosen.com, 646 200-5315 (Coalition for the Homeless)
Matt Ojala, mojala@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7348 (Council Member Levin)

With Record Homelessness, Councilmembers and Advocates Call for Urgent Action on NY-NY IV Supportive Housing Agreement

City Council Resolution Calls on Governor and Mayor to Reach Urgently Needed Deal to Create Housing for Thousands Living with Disabilities and Mental Illness


NEW YORK – New York City Councilmembers stood with advocates at City Hall today in support of a resolution calling on Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to quickly negotiate and sign a fourth ”New York/New York Agreement” to create permanent supportive housing as record homelessness continues to grow.

As winter begins in New York City, there are more than 58,000 people in municipal homeless shelters each night, including more than 25,000 children.  And there is growing evidence that the number of homeless people sleeping on New York City streets is on the rise.  An estimated two-thirds of the street homeless population; 30-to-40% of homeless adults without children in shelters; and 10-to-15% of homeless families with children are in need of permanent supportive housing.

“To address the record homelessness crisis in New York, we need to utilize proven solutions that work,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare (D-Brooklyn). “We need urgent action on NY/NY IV and we need a commitment that matches the growing needs of homeless families and individuals in New York.”

“Since 1990, there have been three successful phases of the New York/New York City-State Housing Agreements to create supportive housing units for New Yorkers with disabilities or those facing other barriers,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health (D-Manhattan). “The cold reality is that 59,246 New Yorkers will sleep in City shelters tonight. We also know from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that roughly 40% of the American homeless population has experienced some sort of disability. I therefore wholeheartedly cast my support behind the imperative call for a fourth New York/New York Agreement that would create a much needed 30,000 units of supportive housing over the next decade.”

“For thousands of New York’s seniors, disabled veterans, survivors of domestic violence and mentally ill, the NY/NY supportive housing agreements have helped break the cycle of homelessness,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan). “The NY/NY program reduces chronic homelessness, often keeping people out of hospitals, jails, and costly emergency shelters. A renewal of this pivotal City-State commitment, NY/NY IV, is essential.”

More than 20,000 households per year are found eligible for supportive housing — but currently there is only 1 housing unit available for every 6 eligible applicants.  With the NY-NY III agreement expiring soon, advocates fear the supply of supportive housing units will dwindle further without urgent action from the City and State.

The Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, endorsed by more than 180 organizations, is calling on the Governor and Mayor to sign a new agreement to create 30,000 units of supportive housing over the next decade.

“Without a strong NY/NY IV Agreement, there is simply no way to reduce the record levels of homelessness in New York City,” said Mary Brosnahan, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless.  “Now is the time for the Governor and Mayor to come together to create the permanent supportive housing we know both saves millions in taxpayer dollars and gives those living with disabilities and mental illness the help they need.”

“We know past investments in supportive housing have more than paid off,” said Kristin Miller, Director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing.  “The proof is thousands of homeless New Yorkers found the homes and services they need because the City and State made supportive housing a priority. There are still plenty of homeless people and many providers eager to move forward with supportive housing, so we urge a signed commitment from the City and State now so that would make these projects become a reality and help thousands more find stable lives.”

“At a time of record homelessness we cannot afford a lag in the creation of housing and services for New York’s most vulnerable residents,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York.  “We urge the Mayor and Governor to commit to a new supportive housing agreement without delay.”

“Creating more housing for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS is the prescription to reach the Governor’s Cuomo’s goal to end AIDS by 2020. I lost my apartment because I had to pay over 80% of my income towards my rent and had to make decisions between my rent and food and medicine. Luckily, I was able to move into supportive housing which provided the stability I needed to remain undetectable,” said Reginald Brown, VOCAL-NY leader.

“We thank our elected officials for recognizing and supporting the importance of supportive housing, which is a crucial and evidence based social determinant in helping people with behavioral health issues,” said Philip A. Saperia, the Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies.  “Furthermore, supportive housing allows people to remain in the community and sustained on the path to recovery.  We have the tools to promote recovery, but not enough housing stock to serve the community. Our proposal to create 30,000 units of supportive housing over the next 10 years will help to address this gap.”

“Without question, the need for a NY/NY IV Agreement is urgent,” said Sally Greenspan, Program Director for Vulnerable Populations at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.  “Research has shown that supportive housing is the most successful and cost-effective solution to ending homelessness for individuals and families with significant barriers to housing stability.  In order to continue to provide safe, quality housing and services for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, we urge Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to act now!”

“Supportive housing has been a proven path for thousands of men and women – including veterans – to transform their lives and achieve employment, independence and family reunification,” said Tori Lyon, Executive Director of Jericho Project, which has seven supportive housing residences, including two veterans residences in the Bronx, built thanks to NY/NY partnerships among other funding. “This investment is in the future of New York homeless adults, families and veterans.”


About Supportive Housing:

Permanent supportive housing combines affordable housing with support services to help people living with disabilities like serious mental illness live with stability.  Supportive housing has proven to be the most successful and cost-effective solution to ending homelessness for individuals and families at risk of cycling between homelessness, emergency and institutional systems without affordable permanent housing and support services.

Supportive housing is a critical part of the City and State’s efforts to tackle record homelessness in New York.  Supportive housing is also a significant part of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-year “Housing New York” plan, just as previous NY/NY Agreements were a part of the Koch and Bloomberg 10-year housing plans.

About NY/NY Agreements:

There have been three City-State “New York/New York Agreements” to fund the creation of permanent supportive housing – the first in 1990, the second in 1998, and the third in 2005.  Combined, the three NY/NY agreements have created more than 14,000 supportive housing units.

A December 2013 analysis by the City’s health department found that the “NY/NY III Agreement” alone reduced use of shelters, hospitals, psych centers and incarceration, for an average net public savings of $10,100/unit per year.  Previous studies have also found significant cost savings from previous NY/NY Agreements.

NY/NY III also 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.

About the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing:

The Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing was formed to call on  Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio negotiate a new City-State agreement to create and fully fund services for 30,000 units of supportive housing over the next ten years.

The new City-State commitment to supportive housing should continue to prioritize homeless people, and target high users of multiple systems, including vulnerable families and youth, survivors of domestic violence and those exiting institutions.  The Campaign has been endorsed by more than 180 organizations and advocates from across New York City.