Sixth round of Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative will build on $20 billion plan to combat homelessness
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the sixth funding round of his Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which will provide up to $35 million in service and operating funds for at least 1,400 supportive housing units. Since its creation in 2016, ESSHI has provided operating funds for more than 5,400 units of supportive housing.
The $20 billion housing plan has already created or preserved more than 7,900 units of supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the budget includes additional capital funding to continue this progress.
"New York is a national leader in addressing homelessness and, through our historic, $20 billion housing plan, we are helping ensure that individuals and families statewide have access to a safe and stable home of their own," Cuomo said. "This latest round of funding will ensure the continued operation of these critical supportive housing developments throughout the state and help guarantee that the most vulnerable among us receive the resources, hope and opportunities they need to change their lives."
ESSHI provides operational funding to providers for the development and operation of supportive housing for vulnerable and at-risk populations, including: homeless veterans and their families; victims of domestic violence; seniors or frail elderly; young adults with histories of incarceration, homelessness or foster care; chronically homeless individuals and families; individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities; individuals reentering the community from prison; and those living with HIV or AIDS, serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
Cuomo’s team said, “Research shows that supportive housing has a positive effect on mental and physical health, employment and school attendance. It provides significant savings by decreasing the use of shelters, hospitals, emergency rooms, prisons and jails and helps to beautify neighborhoods with new or rehabilitated buildings. Most importantly, supportive housing provides safe and affordable homes for individuals and families to assist them in leading stable and fulfilling lives.”
The request for proposals for the funding awards was developed by the governor's ESSHI interagency workgroup, which includes representatives from seven state agencies that serve homeless, at-risk and other vulnerable New Yorkers.
Although the Office of Mental Health is the lead procurement agency for the RFP, proposals do not have to be for services to persons with mental illness, but should address the range of needs of the populations served by the ESSHI agencies.
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "New York state is leading the nation in the development and preservation of supportive housing; and these safe, stable and secure homes are giving people with mental illness the support they need to live successful and productive lives in their own communities. The governor's ESSHI program has been a tremendous accomplishment that has helped thousands of individuals and families, and I'm proud of the role OMH has played in its success."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said, "Providing affordable housing coupled with easy access to supportive services is fundamental to helping people who have experienced homelessness to stabilize their lives and break the cycle of homelessness. The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative continues to be vital to our efforts to helping New Yorkers who have experienced homelessness or housing instability have a safe, stable place to live where they can begin to work toward achieving a brighter future for themselves and their families.”
NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Theodore Kastner M.D., M.S., said, "For the past six years, the governor's Empire State Supportive Housing initiative has been providing New Yorkers with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live independently within their communities with the right services and supports to meet their individual needs. OPWDD is pleased to join our partner agencies to support this initiative once again this year to provide even more people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to be thriving, active members in the center of their communities."
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Safe, stable, supportive housing is key to the success of young adults newly making their way in the world. This is an especially important safety net for foster children who are aging out of the system that supported them to early adulthood and might otherwise be left homeless. Housing is critical to helping them complete their education, gaining employment and achieve their full potential."
NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Gov. Cuomo is taking real action to address the root causes of homelessness and housing insecurity by expanding access to safe, affordable and supportive homes in every community across the state. This additional $35 million will allow us to fund the operating costs of 1,400 new and inclusive homes with expert services and individualized case management that is proven to improve health outcomes and enrich lives. The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative is a model of what can be accomplished when government agencies, developers and nonprofit partners dedicate their focus and resources to help our fellow New Yorkers."
NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Arlene González Sánchez said, "The collaboration between sister agencies in seeing the development of these projects through is a clear testament to the governor's commitment to providing safe, permanent supportive housing for individuals in need of support. These developments are an important part of the continuum of services OASAS offers and enables us to support individuals on the road to recovery."
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Supportive housing is an essential cornerstone of helping New Yorkers lead productive and healthy lives. Gov. Cuomo's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative provides assistance for a wide range of homeless adults, including those with mental illness and substance use histories, who will benefit from the life-changing experience of having a safe and stable place to call home."
OPDV Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "Safe and affordable housing is one of the most significant issues victims of domestic violence face when deciding to leave an abusive relationship. The inability to access safe housing can be the greatest barrier victims, survivors and their families have to overcome. Gov. Cuomo's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative continues to address this critical need and creates the opportunity for more victim's transition to a life free from abuse."
Awards will provide up to $25,000 per unit per year for service and operating funding needed to operate permanent supportive housing units. Applicants are expected to secure separate capital funding to finance the development and construction of their housing project. Funding awarded under this RFP may be used to provide rental assistance and services to eligible target populations to ensure their housing stability. Permissible uses of funds include, but are not limited to, the following:
Rental subsidies and other occupancy costs;
Services or staff to identify and locate eligible individuals that need housing;
Primary and behavioral health services;
Employment and vocational training and/or assistance;
Educational assistance, including high school equivalency diploma support;
Parenting skills development and support;
Child care assistance;
Counseling and crisis intervention;
Children's services, including educational advocacy, support and counseling; and
Costs associated with services and/or staff that help individuals and families remain stably housed, including housing counselors or specialists, and employment counseling.
For those projects that may need capital resources, funding may be secured through private sources, by partnering with a project developer that has secured or is in the process of securing capital funding, or through various state agencies including OTDA, HCR and OPWDD. Predevelopment and program development grant funding is also available from OMH and from OASAS.