Today’s Read: Calling on Gov. Cuomo to Get 6,000 New Supportive Housing Units Up and Running

As people across the country prepare to sit around the Thanksgiving table with loved ones this week, more than 80,000 New Yorkers will enter the holiday season without even the dignity of a home. Many of our homeless neighbors are grappling with mental illness and other health conditions, desperate for the stability of a permanent home and the extra assistance of on-site support services to help them stay housed. Although New York City is facing record homelessness and the current supply of permanent supportive housing is nowhere near sufficient to meet the demand, elected leaders continue to drag their feet on actually releasing the funds that have already been set aside for this proven, cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness. With the harsh winter weather blowing in, thousands of vulnerable men and women are languishing in shelters and on the streets, waiting for State leaders to follow through on their promise of creating 20,000 units of supportive housing.

Take action to help us reach our goal of sending 20,000 messages to Albany – one for every supportive housing unit promised – to urge the Governor and Legislature to fulfill the supportive housing commitment!

Back in January, Gov. Cuomo announced a plan during his State of the State address to fund 20,000 units of supportive housing over 15 years. Funds for the first 6,000 of those units were set aside in the budget that passed in April, but that money was subject to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be signed by the Governor, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. When the legislative session ended in June, a mere $150 million of the $1.9 billion for supportive and affordable housing was released, leaving the vast majority of the funds sitting unused and jeopardizing the long-term financing needed to create the housing.

The Coalition and other members of the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing have been rallying outside Gov. Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Wednesday mornings since late July in an attempt to keep the pressure on State leaders to negotiate and sign the MOU that would release the remainder of the funds, but we need your help to amplify the message through our new email campaign before Gov. Cuomo’s next State of the State address.

Kenneth Lovett of the New York Daily News covered the Campaign’s new initiative:

The effort by Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing will seek to generate 20,000 emails from New Yorkers on the issue to Cuomo before delivers his State of the State address in January.

The group is calling on the governor and legislative leaders to break the logjam that has prevented the funding from moving forward.

Cuomo and the Legislature in March agreed to a $2.6 billion five-year plan to construct 6,000 new supportive housing units in the state. But so far only $500 million for the projects — including $150 million to fund the first 1,200 units in the state budget approved last spring — has been authorized.

The details of how to spend the rest of the money is subject to a signed agreement by Cuomo and the legislative leaders. Cuomo has signed such an agreement, but the Legislature so far has not followed suit.

While applauding Cuomo for his stated commitment to the issue, the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing criticized him for a year later not being able to meet his commitment.

“One-year funding allocations are a start, but they don’t give investors and developers the confidence they need to make long-term funding decisions,” the group said in a statement. “The governor knows this and has proven incredibly effective at getting things accomplished when he wants to, which makes his inability over the last year to keep his promise especially frustrating. This was the governor’s promise, and it is his responsibility to keep it.”