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Cuomo: Up to $158 million to advance action plan combating homelessness

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Wed, Sep 2nd 2020 11:20 am

Homeless Housing and Assistance Program to provide $128 million in capital funding for permanent supportive housing projects; emergency shelter repairs

Up to $30 million in operating and service funding also available through governor's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced the release of two requests for proposals for programs that build and support homeless housing across the state. Combined, the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program and the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative make available $158 million for projects that will house New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, and provide supportive services aimed at addressing the root causes of housing instability. This funding continues the work of the governor's $20 billion, five-year housing plan, which is creating or preserving 100,000 units of affordable housing and has spurred the development of more than 6,600 of supportive housing units across the state.

"For many who experience homelessness, housing insecurity is only a symptom of an even greater underlying problem," Cuomo said. "Projects that address both the shelter and support needs of those experiencing homelessness are at the vanguard of our efforts to ensure all New Yorkers have a safe, stable place to live. These programs represent a crucial investment in our communities and to ensuring the most vulnerable among us aren't left to languish on the streets."

New York state's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) is providing up to $128 million in capital funding for projects that propose to build supportive housing units or to repair emergency shelters – an amount that is double the prior year's allocation. In addition, the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) is accepting proposals for up to $30 million for the ongoing services and operation of supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and with special needs, conditions or other life challenges.

Building on his commitment to the five-year, $20 billion housing plan, Cuomo's enacted 2021 state budget increased the available funding for the HHAP from $64 million to $128 million. This funding includes $5 million earmarked for supportive housing for homeless veterans; $5 million for supportive housing for individuals with AIDS who are experiencing homelessness; and $1 million for necessary repairs to emergency shelters.

The HHAP provides capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, and municipalities to acquire, construct or rehabilitate housing for persons who are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance. The grants are awarded through a competitive process by the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp., a public benefit corporation staffed by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

Through this program, New York has appropriated more than $1.2 billion toward the development of supportive housing. In total, the program has created more than 22,000 units of housing to support individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said, "New York state's unrivaled commitment to expanding the amount of supportive housing statewide is a commonsense approach toward ensuring all New Yorkers have access to a safe, affordable place to live. With this unprecedented increase more than doubling our available funding, we can further support Gov. Cuomo's visionary plan to reduce homelessness throughout the state and effect meaningful change in communities grappling with housing instability."

Established in 2016 and administered by the state Office of Mental Health, the ESSHI is a five-year program designed to fund the service and operating costs of at least 6,000 units of permanent supportive housing for at-risk populations. The initiative is aimed at better coordinating resources from multiple-state agencies, thereby allowing more dynamic programming and quicker implementation.

To date, this initiative has provided service and operating funding for more than 4,600 units of supportive housing. The funding allocated in this year will help create an additional 1,200 units statewide.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "Stable housing provides people living with mental illness who are at-risk of homelessness the support they need as they address their challenges. Gov. Cuomo's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative has brought new hope of recovery to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers who were facing instability and uncertainty in their lives."

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "This $158 million investment will expand critical services for New Yorkers at the highest risk of homelessness and further Gov. Cuomo's aggressive $20 billion, five-year housing plan to create 6,000 units of supportive housing for New Yorkers. During a global pandemic, there is no greater need than the protection that only a safe, secure and affordable home can provide. Our commitment to tackling this current crisis and continuing our fight against homelessness means we must ensure resources are available to help people find quality housing and stay there."

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez Gonzalez-Sanchez said, "The governor's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative has been a true blessing for the population we serve. This new round of requests for proposals will allow for our providers to apply for support to create safe, permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals who are dealing with a substance use disorder."

OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Stable housing is critical for every New Yorker, but most especially for individuals fleeing domestic violence situations with their children or young people without a safe haven. Supportive housing projects such as this provide housing stability – a foundation on which vulnerable New Yorkers can rebuild their lives as independent, working and contributing citizens."

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Dr. Theodore Kastner said, "Programs like these enable our efforts – under Gov. Cuomo's leadership – to empower New Yorkers with developmental disabilities to be participating members of their communities. Affordable, supportive housing is the foundation for integrated, community living and helps to ensure the people we support live happy, fulfilled lives."

The Homeless Housing and Assistance Program request for proposals can be found here.

The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative request for proposals can be found here.

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