Some fifty members of the faith community gathered at New Greater Bethel Ministries (NGBM) in Queens to hear how their churches can work with mission-driven nonprofits to develop supportive and affordable housing. Invited by Dominic Dummett of Signature Building Consultants, hosted by NGBM’s Pastor John Boyd and organized by the Network, the gathering featured presentations by the Network’s Laura Mascuch, HPD’s Theresa Cassano, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)’s Benjamin Dulchin and RiseBoro’s Scott Short.
In his opening remarks, Dominic referenced the context for the day’s conversations – namely that churches, plagued by near daily offers by developers have been making ill-advised deals to sell their properties. By partnering with mission-driven nonprofits to develop affordable and supportive housing, however, faith leaders can both gain assets and further their mission to care for “the least of these.”
Laura kicked off the morning by talking about supportive housing’s deep roots in the faith community, having been invented and promulgated by faith leaders in the early 80s and having, at its core, the intention of helping the most vulnerable among us achieve independence and a life of dignity in the community. She also informed those assembled that between the City’s and State’s commitments to supportive housing, there are significant resources available to develop residences in New York.
HPD’s Theresa Cassano then presented on the numerous programs the City has to encourage the development of supportive and affordable housing. She also walked attendees through the concrete steps faith-based institutions need to take in order to start the process.
ANHD’s Benjamin Dulchin then spoke briefly about the importance of working with organizations that share the same values as faith based organizations hold, ticking off the benefits of churches partnering with community-based nonprofit developers. ANHD recently published a white paper about the fact that buildings developed by nonprofits have a deeper level of affordability than those built by for-profits.
Scott Short, of RiseBoro (formerly Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center) then presented on a number of actual projects that have been developed or are in process of being developed as a result of partnerships with faith-based organizations. In one instance, the church sold its property outright, in another the church was a true Joint Venture partner and in a third the church receives a new worship space and additional rentable commercial space and is providing a long-term ground lease.
A lively well-informed question and answer period followed including questions about the Attorney General’s role in these deals (the AG must approve any transfers of church properties) and how churches can know whether they’re being taken for a ride (“get a good lawyer”)– and what are the different levels of affordability? (ANHD passed out cheat sheets on Area Median Income).
Thank you to everyone who participated and especially to our host, Pastor Boyd and the amazing people at New Greater Bethel Ministries.| What's New, New York City, Network Events
The opening of DePaul’s Joseph L. Allen Apartments October 5th was an especially heart-warming event: in addition to local and state luminaries, the family of Mr. Allen, Schenectady’s first African-American councilman, was on hand. “He would be proud,” said his daughter Lakeia Allen Bowman of having the beautiful new Hamilton Hill residence named after him. “He would be humbled, and he would shed a few tears.”
Lakeia’s young son Raymond added: “Every time I pass the building, it reminds me of how great my grandpa was.”
The striking apartments - with gray and orange exterior accents - will provide homes to 51 families and individuals, with half the apartments set-aside for families and individuals struggling with mental illness and the other half providing homes to low-income families and individuals from the community.
Services are provided by Schenectady Community Action Program and funded by the Office of Mental Health (OMH). Onsite services include linkage to medical, clinical, vocational, educational, and recreational services
The environmentally-friendly apartment complex features a large community room with a full kitchen, a computer lab, a landscaped back garden, and free Wi-Fi. Throughout the building hang photos of local landmarks including City Hall, Veterans’ Park and Jerry Burrell Park.
Welcoming those assembled, DePaul President Mark Fuller said “We are so proud to be part of the revitalization of the Hamilton Hill neighborhood community and to provide homes for people in need.”
State Senator Jim Tedisco and County Legislator Karen Johnson, who served on the City Council with Allen, remarked that the development is a fitting tribute to Councilmember Allen who worked so hard to represent the people of Hamilton Hill.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas told participants, “This nearly $18 million development enhances the lives of 51 households, strengthens the neighborhood and advances Schenectady’s vibrant revitalization drive.”
Other dignitaries at the event included Assemblyman Phil Steck, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, and OMH’s Moira Tashjian.
Funding for the Joseph L. Allen Apartments came from NYS Housing Finance Agency, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, NYS Office of Mental Health, JPMorgan Chase, and the Housing Trust Fund Corporation acting by and through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR). The syndicator was Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC. The architect was SWBR Architects and the contractor was Christa Construction.
THE SUPPORTIVE HOUSING NETWORK OF NEW YORK
JOB TITLE: Policy Analyst
About the Supportive Housing Network of New York
The Supportive Housing Network of New York represents more than 200 nonprofit organizations that have created over 50,000 units of supportive housing across New York State. An additional 35,000 units are slated for the next fifteen years: 15,000 from a New York City commitment and 20,000 from the State. The Network uses advocacy, public education, training, technical assistance, research and policy analysis to increase the public's understanding of supportive housing – affordable housing with voluntary services for formerly homeless people with disabilities and special needs. The Network identifies and shares best practices that continually improve the model’s effectiveness and, most importantly, encourages the creation of enough supportive housing to end homelessness among the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
As a member of the Network’s larger policy team, the Policy Analyst will focus on budget and policy analysis, advocacy, research, and member support. This person will be responsible for monitoring legislative, programmatic and budgetary issues that may impact supportive housing. The position requires someone passionate about housing and homelessness issues who is able to work with nonprofit members, government, NYC communities and elected officials. Complementing the work of other policy team members focused on housing development and finance, this position is largely focused on policy related to social services.
The Policy Analyst position is full-time and will report to the Director of Policy and Planning. This position works out of the NYC office with frequent travel throughout NYC and requires occasional travel to Albany and Washington D.C.
- Track and analyze City budget items, legislation and regulations that affect the supportive housing community.
- Manage strategy to educate City Council, other elected officials and their staff on supportive housing issues.
- Communicate with members and government partners to identify and resolve concerns related to supportive housing within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and other relevant city agencies.
- As needed, convene working groups, represent the Network externally in committees and campaigns, and coordinate lobbying visits and other advocacy events.
- Draft policy papers, reports, testimony, newsletter articles and member alerts.
- Co-lead and co-facilitate the Network’s monthly meetings of members – the NYC Advocacy Committee, Young Adult Provider Group, and Family Provider Group –to discuss budget, policy, and programmatic issues and better understand the needs of tenants and providers.
- Represent supportive housing providers as the Voting Member of the New York City Continuum of Care’s (CoC) Steering Committee. Participate as a member of the Youth Committee and Performance & Quality Improvement Committee.
- Supervise and manage college and graduate interns working within the policy team.
- Alongside Network staff, provide hands-on assistance with the planning and implementation of the Network’s three main annual events: the Gala (400+ attendees), the Conference (1,300+ attendees) and the Annual Meeting (200+ attendees). Assist with the coordination of other workshops and events as needed.
- Demonstrated commitment to issues of homelessness and/or low-income housing
- Knowledge of local, state, and federal government budget and legislative processes
- Must be detail-oriented and possess excellent research, writing and analytical skills
- Capable of facilitating meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, including housing and social service providers, government agency staff and elected officials
- Ability to work as part of a team as well as execute projects independently
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
- Master’s Degree in a relevant field (such as public policy, public administration, or social work) or equivalent experience (5+ years)
- Background in human services field a plus
How to Apply:
To apply, send resume, cover letter, writing sample (500 words or less) and references to email@example.com. Please include “Policy Analyst” in the subject line of your email. No phone calls, please.
Salary and title are commensurate with experience. The Network is an equal opportunity employer.| What's New
On October 12th, the Network convened partners in Rochester for two events focused on meeting the ambitious new statewide supportive housing development goals.
In the morning, representatives from twenty of our nonprofit members participated in a workshop titled Joint Ventures: What’s on the Table. Expert panelists included Kevin Hoffman of Richman Housing Resources, Karen Sherman of ShermanLaw, Michael Claisse of Bank of America, and Monica McCullough of MM Development Advisors. Attendees learned about the basics of Low Income Housing Tax Credit development, risks and rewards of tax credit projects, and what questions to ask when negotiating a joint venture development agreement. Whether they were new to development or had participated in dozens of deals, attendees walked away with a deeper understanding of how to approach a joint venture agreement and how to arrive at a deal that works best for the needs of their organizations. The Network looks forward to more programming on joint ventures as we strive to meet the development goals of the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI).
Additional members from banks, tax credit syndicators, and for-profit developers joined us for a packed afternoon panel on ESSHI. Moderated by the Network’s Laura Mascuch, the panel featured Moira Tashjian of the NYS Office of Mental Health, Richard Umholtz of the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and Leonard Skrill of NYS Homes and Community Renewal. Panelists reflected on the past year of ESSHI and answered questions about the program’s implementation moving forward. According to the panelists, there were 182 applications in year two: 169 proposals with a total of 5,453 units received conditional awards.
Participants shared a great deal of information about the evolution of the initiative and imparted important information about conditional and permanent awards. To move from conditional to permanent award status,, a project must have all of its capital financing in place. Additionally, although the number of units in the project can change as the project moves forward, neither the population nor location may change from the conditional award. If groups are not 100% sure about their site location, it would be more prudent to not list the site. We are deeply grateful to Providence Housing Development Corporation for hosting this day in their beautiful Bishop Hickey Conference Center and to our generous panelists.
Check for upcoming events related to our Capacity Building Initiative here.| What's New, New York State, Network Events
On an unseasonably warm sunny morning in late October, some fifty friends, staff, partners and well-wishers gathered in the front yard of 411 Vanderbilt to celebrate the long-awaited opening of Project Hospitality’s (PH) first single site supportive housing residence in its 35 year history of serving homeless people on Staten Island. The project was also the first New York City project funded through the state’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (and only the second supportive housing residence to open on Staten Island). Both Project Hospitality’s first Executive Director -- now CEO – Rev. Terry Troia and its new Executive Director Carrie Bloss were on hand to do the honors, as they helped cut the ribbon on 16 beautiful new apartments for formerly homeless individuals.
Project Hospitality Board Chair Rabbi Gerald Sussman told the story of the organization’s twenty five year effort to build 411 Vanderbilt, which included multiple owners reluctant to sell, a long stretch in which the building was inhabited by squatters, and a fire that pretty much destroyed the building. Through the vision and tenacity of Project Hospitality and the project’s architect Amie Gross, its contractor Mammoth Construction, as well as important funders, 411 Vanderbilt literally rose from the ashes.
Kimberly Smith of the Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) was not the first or last speaker to acknowledge the difficulties in developing this project. Ms. Smith and OTDA’s Dana Greenberg presented Project Hospitality with a certificate of recognition from Commissioner Roberts as well as greetings from the Governor. Project Hospitality, for their part, gave out plaqued bricks to significant project partners including CSH, Capital One Richmond County Savings Foundation and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
CSH’s Kristin Miller – whose organization had loaned PH the money to acquire the property -- noted that it had taken 25 years to make a loan for supportive housing on Staten Island, and predicted the next loan would not take as long.
Capital One’s Heather Gershen pointed out that it “takes a village” not just to support our most vulnerable neighbors, but to support the groups that support them as well.
Arthur McCarthy of Mammoth Construction told listeners that he never forgot where he came from – a modest upbringing -- and that his “heart goes out to people who haven’t been as lucky.” He then proceeded to offer a check for $2,500 in his recently passed father’s name to be used to fill the refrigerators of the 16 people who would be moving into 411 Vanderbilt over the next few days.
Also on hand were representatives from Richmond County Savings Foundation, HUD, OASAS, the Staten Island Foundation, the Network and HSU.
411 Vanderbilt was funded by HUD, OTDA, CSH, Deutsche Bank, Capital One and the aforementioned foundations. Service funding will come from the NYS Department of Health.| What's New, New York City, Openings
On October 16th, a beautiful, autumn day, Concern for Independent Living celebrated the opening of Renaissance Village, a 123-unit mixed-income supportive housing development in Middle Island, Suffolk County. Renaissance Village provides 50 units for homeless adults with mental health challenges who are high Medicaid users, 72 units for low-income individuals and families, and one superintendent unit.
After a warm welcome from Concern’s Executive Director and Network Board Treasurer Ralph Fasano, Gail Lynch-Bailey, President of the Middle Island Civic Association, spoke movingly about how Renaissance Village is “not only a rebirth for all the people who are starting new lives, but for those of us who have been here a long time, and awaiting a rebirth for our community.”
NYS Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) Assistant Commissioner Sean Fitzgerald was honored by Concern at the opening for the integral part he’s played in making Concern’s many supportive and affordable housing projects a success.
Other dignitaries who spoke at the opening included Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan of NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) who said “what is really successful is when individuals who are living with mental illness have the opportunity to become part of the community that will help them traverse that road of hope and recovery and that’s what you’re doing here;” Commissioner Samuel Roberts of NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (OTDA); Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Executive; Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, Town of Brookhaven; Sarah Anker, Legislator, Suffolk County; Councilman Michael Loguercio, Town of Brookhaven; Brian Loeb of Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; and Maurice Coleman of Bank of America.
Formerly underutilized land in the heart of Middle Island, Renaissance Village now features nine townhouse-style buildings; a community center with exercise room, a computer room, and ample outdoor space for residents to enjoy.
Funding for Renaissance Village was provided by HCR, OMH, Bank of America, County of Suffolk, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, and Astoria Bank.
The development team included the law firms of Russo, Karl, Widmaier & Cordano, and Nixon Peabody, the project’s attorneys; Belfor Long Island, the general contractor; DeLaCour, Ferrara & Church, the project architect; and Betts Housing Consultants.| What's New, Member News, Openings
New York's supportive housing community came together on October 18th for our annual Network Awards Gala in a year of beginning to implement the historic commitments from the Governor and Mayor for 35,000 new units of supportive housing.
More than 600 guests joined us at Capitale to celebrate a few outstanding individuals and our amazing community. The mood was festive during the 90 minute cocktail hour as friends and colleagues revived old friendships and forged new ones.
The night’s festivities continued with our awards ceremony. This year we honored Deutsche Bank as our Private Sector Partner of the Year, and RuthAnne Visnauskas as our Government Partner of the Year, as well as three remarkable tenants and two outstanding residences.
Network Board Chair and Breaking Ground President & CEO Brenda Rosen welcomed the crowd, and introduced the Network’s Executive Director, Laura Mascuch, who expressed her heartfelt thanks to the Network’s Board, staff and the community for all their support. Ms. Mascuch also offered special thanks to our gala fundraising committee chaired by Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living and Hercules Argyriou of Mega Contracting.
Milagros Bursey, of the YWCA of Rochester, accepted the first of the evening’s three Tenant of the Year awards from the Network’s Sydney Kopp-Richardson. Ms. Bursey spoke forcefully about the difference supportive housing – and the YWCA of Rochester – had made in her life, after struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and myriad health challenges.
The Network’s Steve Piasecki presented our upstate Residence of the Year award to Melissa O’Geen of DePaul for their gorgeous Carriage Factory Apartments, serving a mix of formerly homeless and low-income individuals and families.
Kimathi Witt of Concern for Independent Living, accepted the second of the evening’s Tenant of the Year awards from the Network’s Ms. Kopp-Richardson. Mr. Witt spoke movingly about how connecting with Concern for Independent Living was the key to turning around a life full of challenges including undiagnosed manic depression and homelessness. Since moving in with Concern, Mr. Witt has reunited with his son, married his girlfriend, completed one Master’s degree, was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and started a successful photography business.
Former Network Board Chair William Traylor, President of Richman Housing Resources, welcomed John Kimble of Deutsche Bank to the podium to receive our Private Sector Partner of the Year award on behalf of Deutsche Bank. Mr. Traylor highlighted the huge impact that Deutsche Bank has made on New York supportive housing. Mr. Kimble spoke about the importance of explicitly acknowledging issues of social justice in our work, in particular, the impact of racial inequity –as well as working to champion racial equity in our own organizations and partners.
The Network’s Cynthia Stuart presented the second Residence of the Year Award to Robert Sanborn and Brian Bardell of Volunteers of America-Greater New York for the beautiful Creston Avenue Residence. Jessica Katz, Associate Commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, presented our Government Partner of the Year award to RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner & CEO of NYS Homes & Community Renewal. Ms. Visnauskas spoke to her long career in supportive and affordable housing starting with Clinton Housing, her time at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and now at NYS Homes and Community Renewal implementing the very ambitious 20,000 supportive housing unit commitment.
The final Tenant of the Year Award was presented to Robert Offley of Urban Pathways by Ms. Kopp-Richardson. Mr. Offley spoke about the decades he spent living on the streets before finding a new life thanks to supportive housing. His emotional ‘thank you’ to Urban Pathways and all those assembled won a standing ovation.
The evening ended with more cocktails, conversation, and delicious desserts!
You can also read more about each of our honorees by following the links here and check out the photos of the evening.
We hope to see you at next year's Gala!| What's New, Network Events
Some 90 providers, investors, lawyers and city and state government representatives gathered at Fortune Society’s Castle Gardens on September 28th to hear about the City’s NYC 15/15 initiative which seeks to create 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next fifteen years. The panel, moderated by our own Laura Mascuch, featured HRA Deputy Commissioner of Supportive/Affordable Housing & Services Kristin Misner Gutierrez, HPD Deputy Director of the Supportive Housing Loan Program Theresa Cassano, and DOHMH Senior Director, Office of Housing Services Gail Wolsk. Of special interest to those in attendance was information about the City’s newly minted rental assistance program which will be separate from service contracts and entirely funded by the City’s tax levy funds.
Stanley Richards of Fortune Society welcomed guests with a wish that the residence in which the panel was situated served as an inspiration to those developing the next wave of supportive housing.
Kristin Misner Gutierrez presented a quick overview of NYC 15/15 – both the congregate and the scattered site programs. She summarized the six month process through which the City and the provider community used data and on-the-ground experience to develop recommendations for improving systems and rates, recommendations that the City then integrated into NYC 15/15. She also laid out the City’s expectations as to how many units will go to which populations, both in terms of scattered site and single site units.
Gail Wolsk then summarized some of the innovations in service contracts that are new under NYC 15/15, including 1:15 caseloads, programs for families that must include services for children, and the requirement that services be evidence-informed.
Theresa Cassano then took over, laying out for the first time the City’s rental assistance program that will be paired with the NYC 15/15 service contracts. She explained that both service and rental assistance contracts can be used in a number of HPD programs beyond the Supportive Housing Loan Program, including ELLA and Mix and Match. The new subsidy will closely resemble Project Based Section 8, although, because the funding is all City tax levy, the subsidy will not trigger Davis-Bacon. Ms. Cassano told attendees that HPD has been meeting with both providers and investors about the subsidy program to address questions and concerns.
The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer period covering a range of concerns about both the scattered site and the single site programs. Panelists also stayed after the session ended to answer participants’ questions one-on-one.
Stay tuned for a Guest Blog Post from the three participants answering frequently asked questions.| What's New, New York City, Network Events
Ever since last year, when the state and city committed to create 35,000 new units of supportive housing in two separate initiatives over the next fifteen years, the Network has focused on supporting our community in meeting this unprecedented opportunity. 27,500 of these units will be single-site. The state’s commitment of 20,000 of these units – the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) – will be developed through an annual statewide RFP process, while New York City’s 7,500 single-site units – part of NYC 15/15 – will be developed through an open, rolling RFP. The total number of units is three times that of any previous commitment.
The Network has embarked on a multi-year Getting to 35K Initiative for our nonprofit community. Last winter, we surveyed members to gauge their interest in developing supportive housing and to identify any impediments to the process. The results of this survey pointed us towards the types of trainings, convenings, and connections our nonprofit members needed to move forward.
In the first eight months of 2017, we convened our state partners for an ESSHI question and answer session which was attended by 100 members of our community. In February, we piloted a small, hands-on training on how to structure a joint venture with representatives from ShermanLaw, Bank of America, and Richman Housing Resources. Throughout the spring, we presented at various forums to help faith-based organizations partner with affordable and supportive housing developers, including a gathering we hosted with the Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships. Eight of our annual conference workshops were aimed at helping the supportive housing community implement NYC 15/15 and ESSHI. And in July, we held our first Joint Venture ‘mixer’ – bringing together for-profit developers and nonprofits interested in partnering to develop supportive housing…in a bar!
Over the next several months, we will be holding a number of events across the state on topics including financing a tax credit deal, joint ventures, and HCR’s unified funding process. While we will be sending out specific invitations to each of these events, we wanted to keep you abreast of what we’re planning to offer.
We would love to hear your thoughts on what else the Network could do to help us all meet our collective vision: ending chronic homelessness in New York State through the creation of sufficient supportive housing.
The Network would like to thank our funders for the Getting to 35K Initiative, without their support this work would not be possible: Bank of America, Capital One, Deutsche Bank, New York Community Trust, the Oak Foundation, Robin Hood, JP Morgan Chase, and the van Ameringen Foundation.| What's New, New York State, New York City, Network Events
The competitive round of funding that includes 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) has been released. This is a major source of funds to develop supportive housing to meet New York State’s commitment to build 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years. That commitment is demonstrated by an increase in the supportive housing set aside for LIHTC, from $4 million to $5 million out of an estimated total of $28 million.
Other capital resources are available through the Unified Funding Round, including:
- Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP) - $35 million
- Housing Trust Fund (HTF) - $65.2 million
- NYS HOME Program - $7 million
- Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund (CIF) - $44.9 million
- Middle Income Housing Program (MIHP) - $16 million
- Homes for Working Families (HWF) - $4 million
- Public Housing Preservation Program (PHP) - $10 million
- Multifamily Preservation Program (MPP) - $15 million
- New York State Low Income Housing Tax Credit (SLIHC) – $4 million
There are three separate deadlines for the application, including one specific to shovel-ready supportive housing projects:
- Early Award Projects – by 5:00 PM, October 5, 2017
- Early Round Empire State Supportive Housing Projects (ESSHI) – by 5:00 PM, November 7, 2017
- Other capital applications – by 5:00 PM, December 5, 2017
Supportive housing projects not ready for the early round may apply before the regular deadline of December 5, 2017.
For Network Members, those with ESSHI conditional awards who are new to this funding opportunity, please contact Steve Piasecki at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for additional resources.| What's New, New York State