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Office of Mental Health

August 16, 2019 | Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $30 Million Available to Fund Operating Costs of at Least 1,200 Supportive Housing Units

Fourth Round of Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative Will Advance Governor's Historic $20 Billion Plan to Combat Homelessness

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the fourth funding round of the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative - or ESSHI - which will provide up to $30 million in service and operating funding for at least 1,200 units of supportive housing. Announced in 2016, ESSHI is one component of the Governor's historic $20 billion, five-year plan to create or preserve more than 100,000 affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units.

"New York is making tremendous strides towards our goal of providing safe, affordable and stable housing for all New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to develop affordable and supportive housing across the state to make sure more individuals and families have access to a home of their own."

"This investment will continue our efforts to provide affordable, supportive, and quality housing in communities across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We want to make sure that all New Yorkers have access to housing and services they need to live their best lives. The investment builds on our nation-leading, $20 billion plan to increase affordable housing stock and combat homelessness in New York."

Since 2016, more than 5,000 supportive housing units have been funded, including nearly 3,200 under the implementation of ESSHI. The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative provides operational funding to providers for the development and operation of supportive housing for people identified as homeless with special needs, conditions, or other life challenges.

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.

ESSHI housing serves the following at-risk populations: 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.

A Request For Proposals for the funding awards was developed by the Governor's ESSHI Interagency workgroup, which includes representatives from the following state agencies:

  • Office of Mental Health
  • Department of Health, including the AIDS Institute
  • New York State Homes and Community Renewal
  • Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • Office of Children and Family Services
  • Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
  • Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Awards will provide the 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.

Although OMH 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.

Bidder's Conferences will be offered at an upstate and downstate location to provide information regarding the RFP. Specific times and locations of the Bidder's Conferences will be posted on OMH's procurement page within one week following the RFP release date.

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "New York State is changing lives with these supportive housing units. Stable housing gives individuals with mental illness the support they need as they navigate their recovery journey. The Governor's ESSHI program is giving thousands of vulnerable individuals a safe and secure home as they pursue full, successful lives."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "By combining individualized care with secure and affordable housing, we are helping vulnerable New Yorkers lead successful and self-sufficient lives. Supportive housing is a proven strategy to break the cycle of homelessness. The $30 million announced today furthers the Governor's commitment to creating thousands of new supportive homes and building stronger, healthier communities in every region of the state."

Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Youth and young adults who do not have consistent, stable housing are highly vulnerable. They may end up on the streets after fleeing neglect or abuse at home or when they age out of the foster care system. Supportive housing is a safety net that helps teens and young adults transition to adulthood. When they have a home, they can focus on completing their education, obtaining independent living skills or gaining the work experience that they need to put them on a path to success in life."

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "Access to stable, safe and affordable permanent supportive housing is especially important for families and individuals battling and recovering from a substance use disorder. With initiatives like this, Governor Cuomo continues to position New York State as a national leader in providing a full continuum of care for people seeking addiction and homeless services."

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Michael Hein said, "Individuals experiencing chronic homelessness often suffer from a variety of conditions - mental illness, substance abuse problems and other health problems - that can severely impede their ability to find and then maintain stable housing. Supportive housing can eliminate these barriers so that they can achieve stability and ultimately independence in their lives. Governor Cuomo's Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative remains an essential component of our effort to provide new hope and opportunity to New Yorkers struggling with homelessness, including those who are among our state's most vulnerable populations."

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Theodore Kastner, MD, MS, said, "Affordable, supportive housing provides integrated, community living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, and with the assistance of our state agency partners, we can help to ensure the people we support live happy, fulfilled lives in their neighborhoods and communities."

Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker said, "Housing stability is integral to health and wellbeing and New York State is promoting that through these significant investments in supportive housing. Once people have stable housing, they can concentrate on other factors affecting their health, like doctor visits, diet, and employment."

Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Deputy Director Shannon Cantiello said, "Victims of domestic violence are often left with no other choice but to leave their homes to escape abuse from their partner and finding a safe place to live is just one of the many obstacles they may encounter. We thank Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to ensuring the most vulnerable New Yorkers have access to safe, decent housing with supportive services, and for reminding them that they are not alone."

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