Network Newsfeed, Blog

Network Convenes a Panel on NYC 15/15 Implementation


A full house at the Network's NYC 15/15 panel.

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

The Network’s Getting to 35K Initiative


The Network's recent panel on the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI).

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

HCR Releases Unified Funding Round Request for Proposals


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.

To read the full RFP and access other resources on HCR’s website please click here. Information is also available on the Network’s website here.

Prior to the applicable application deadlines, prospective applicants may submit questions to Answers to questions submitted by email will be posted on the UF 2017 webpage.

For Network Members, those with ESSHI conditional awards who are new to this funding opportunity, please contact Steve Piasecki at with questions or for additional resources.

| What's New, New York State

Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Program


Panelists address the crowd at the presentation of the Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Program evaluations.

Some 70 representatives from a broad spectrum of health and housing organizations gathered at the offices of Robin Hood September 12th for a presentation on first year evaluations of the Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Program by representatives of the Department of Health (DOH) and SUNY Albany. 

Welcomed by Robin Hood’s Managing Director for Health programs, Sarah Oltmans, the Network’s Laura Mascuch then framed the morning’s focus and introduced the presenters. She also summarized the Evaluation’s overall findings: that the programs reduced inpatient days by 40%; reduced emergency department visits by 26%; reduced rehab admissions by 44% and inpatient psych admissions by 27%; and reduced overall Medicaid spend by 15%.

DOH Deputy Medicaid Director Liz Misa kicked off the presentation by giving an overview of the MRT program, by far the largest investment in housing by any state health agency in the country. To date the program has invested $641 million over seven years; served 11,000 high need Medicaid recipients, developed 19 rental subsidy and supportive service programs statewide, added 1,482 units to the state’s supportive housing inventory and prioritized placements in single-site residences for the most vulnerable Medicaid recipients. Ms. Misa then showed a brief film created by BronxWorks in which tenants of their Health Home Supportive Housing Pilot Program described the impact of having stable housing. That program has produced a 46% reduction for the first seven participants for whom they have data, according to the Bronx Health and Housing Consortium.

The research team from SUNY Albany then took over, unpacking cost and utilization data from the tenants of 11 MRT housing-related programs. Dr. Lauren Polvere led off, describing the tenants in terms of their demographics, ethnicity and chronic conditions. Dr. Sandra McGinnis and Dr. Diane Dewar took attendees through the utilization and cost reports, paying special attention to two of the supportive housing programs that had the most robust outcomes in cost and utilization – scattered-site programs for high-need Medicaid recipients run by the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the Office of Mental Health.

Representatives from city and state government, MRT supportive housing, Managed Care Organizations, foundations and health care professionals then participated in an hour-long discussion of the results and proposed next steps. Presenters told attendees that additional studies are being conducted to inform effective targeting of participants for the MRT units as well as to better understand unmet need. Ms. Misa left open the possibility of expansion or creation of new programs depending on budget discussions.

We thank the presenters as well as our Robin Hood hosts for the opportunity to discuss this groundbreaking work.

| What's New, New York State, Network Events

2017 Network Gala


Executive Director Laura Mascuch addressing the 2016 Network gala.

There are only a few weeks left before our 2017 Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 18th at Capitale. We have much to celebrate this year, so please plan to attend this wonderful event! We'll be honoring RuthAnne Visnauskas Commissioner & CEO of NYS Homes & Community Renewal as Government Partner of the Year, for her pivotal role in securing the state’s landmark Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative as well as her part in ensuring its swift implementation. We are also delighted to honor the decades-long contributions of Deutsche Bank as Private Sector Partner of the Year, including Deutsche’s creation of the innovative DB Share program and the bank’s longstanding support of both the Network and our nonprofit providers.

We also look forward to honoring our outstanding supportive housing tenants and residences of the year.

The Network would like to thank our Gala co-chairs, Hercules Argyriou of Mega Contracting Group and Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living and the Gala Committee for spearheading our fundraising efforts.

We look forward to seeing you and celebrating your achievements next month.

Hope you can join us!

| What's New, Network Events

Comunilife and NYC Health + Hospitals Break Ground on Comunilife Woodhull


Breaking ground on Comunilife Woodhull.

On August 16th, elected officials, funders, and other partners joined Comunilife and NYC Health + Hospitals to break ground on a new supportive/affordable housing building on the campus of Woodhull Hospital.

Of the residence’s 89 studio units, fifty-four will be set aside as supportive housing for patients of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull who have behavioral health issues and a history of homelessness.  The other 35 units will be available to low-income individuals.

The building will include a multi-purpose community room, a community kitchen, a laundry room, bike storage, and a computer room. The property will feature a 2,400-square-foot landscaped backyard, as well as a 2,300-square-foot front yard along Park and Throop Avenues.

Woodhull Hospital CEO Gregory Calliste opened the program congratulating the health and housing stakeholders on bringing the project to fruition. He introduced NYC Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio who remarked, “Health does not happen within the four walls of a doctor’s office, it happens foremost at home. These supportive housing units will go a long way to helping the residents who live here be their healthiest selves.”

Dr. Palacio was followed by Comunilife’s Board Chair & CEO, Dr. Rosa Gil, who noted that the project had been a dream for many years.

Stanley Brezenoff, Interim President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals commented “Our mission is reflected in this building and our commitment to the community.”

“This development will have the power to transform lives,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “I am proud to join our fellow partners in the public and private sectors who combined their dedication and expertise on behalf of the 89 residents who will call Comunilife Woodhull their home.”

Other distinguished speakers included NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s Emily Lehman, Council Member Robert Cornegy, NYS Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, Council Member Antonio Reynoso as well as Deputy Borough President Diane Reyna and a representative of Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez's office.

Funding for the project came from NYS HCR and NYC HPD. Hudson Housing Capital was the project syndicator, and Sterling National Bank and Chase were lenders.  New York State Energy Research and Development provided additional grant funding. On site supportive services will be funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and provided by Comunilife. Monica Lopez Architects is the project architect and Mega Contracting will provide general contracting services.

| What's New, New York City, Groundbreakings

Breaking ground at La Central


Breaking ground at La Central.

On July 24, Breaking Ground  hosted state, city, and local government luminaries to break ground on the first building of what will eventually be a five-building, 1.1 million square foot development in the South Bronx with 992 units of mixed-income housing, a new 50,000 square foot YMCA, a television studio and a skate park! This first building in the La Central project will provide 160 units of supportive/affordable housing for a mix of formerly homeless individuals with special needs and low-income people from the area.  As Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. remarked: “La Central will go a long way towards showing the rest of the world that we are back: we are no longer the Bronx of the seventies and eighties.”

The first La Central building is also notable for its funding: onsite services will be partially funded by the NYS’s new Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) in addition to service funding from HRA-HASA, making La Central among the first supportive housing buildings with ESSHI funding to break ground in the City.

Unfortunately, the groundbreaking took place amid torrential rains. Breaking Ground CEO Brenda Rosen, however, took the opportunity to remind attendees that, as uncomfortable as the speakers were huddled under the only available tent, “Imagine what it would be like to be homeless in the midst of this and what an opportunity this building represents.”  

Other dignitaries who spoke at the event included Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas of NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR); Commissioner Samuel Roberts of NYS  Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA); Deputy Commissioner Molly Park of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); and CSH’s Jennifer Trepinski.

Comunilife CEO Dr. Rosa Gil echoed the Borough President’s remarks about the project saying, “La Central marks a new era for this neighborhood.”  Comunilife will be providing onsite services in the building.

In addition to 160 units of supportive and affordable housing, the La Central supportive housing residence will also include a 4,500 square foot community facility space.

La Central has received capital funding from NYS Housing Finance Agency, NYS HCR, NYC HPD, NYS OTDA, Wells Fargo, and CSH. Wells Fargo is the syndicator. The building was designed by FXFOWLE Architects and MHG Architects. The general contractor is Monadnock Construction, Inc.

| What's New, New York City, Groundbreakings

Federal Budget Update


Within the past month, the House appropriations committee proposed flat-funding Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) programs for Fiscal Year 2018, while the Senate committee modestly increased HUD funding levels. These two proposals serve as starting points for budget negotiations between the two houses of Congress. Since none of the other budget committees have put forth proposals, it is unlikely that there will be further action on the Federal budget before the end of the fiscal year.

On July 17-19, one week after the House released their budget proposal, the Network joined forces with the National Alliance to End Homelessness to make 25 lobby visits with 40 advocates from across New York State. These meetings covered a variety of budget concerns as well as legislative issues.   Members of the New York delegation were particularly supportive of the Tiberi-Neal Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. (The program is also referred to as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) program). One of the many provisions of the legislation would allow for income averaging in LIHTC developments to help reach lower income tenants.

Thanks to all who participated and special thanks to our talented Princeton intern, Marcia Brown, who organized a special meeting, attended by both New Yorkers and Ohioans, with the Senate Banking Committee.

| What's New, Federal

Kenyon Craig, Housing Visions’ CEO, steps down after 27 years


Kenyon Craig.

In 1994, I returned to my home town of Syracuse to help Central New York Services open the first upstate supportive housing residence. I was fortunate to have Housing Visions (HV) as a next door neighbor.  HV had been buying and rehabbing multiple properties in the area, using the fairly new Low Income Housing Tax Credit to create neighborhood change. That’s how I came to know the brilliant work of Kenyon Craig, HV’s founder.  I was fortunate to see our neighborhood change around us as these investments helped make run-down Greek Revival, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts homes new again.  Over time, the boarded-up, dilapidated and often vacant homes of East Genesee Street have been replaced by well-maintained homes and rising property values: so much so that HV can no longer afford to develop there (not that they need to)!has been transformed. 

Housing Visions has continued to grow and innovate since those days, creating extraordinary residences like VanKeuren Square for homeless veterans or replacing an old public housing tower with beautiful garden apartments in another supportive housing development, Maple Heights.

After 27 years of success that began in a church basement in that same neighborhood Ken recently announced his retirement.  Over the years, Ken and HV developed about 1,600 units of affordable and supportive housing across New York, from Niagara Falls to Albany, from Oswego to the Pennsylvania border.  He showed me the amazing way affordable housing development can lead to community renewal.

I wish you well in retirement, Ken!

| What's New, New York State, Member News

2017 Network Awards Gala


Please plan to attend the 2017 Network Gala on Wednesday, October 18th at Capitale. We have much to celebrate this year, so please save the date for this wonderful event!

We'll be honoring RuthAnne Visnauskas Commissioner & CEO of NYS Homes & Community Renewal as Government Partner of the Year, for her pivotal role in securing the state’s landmark Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative as well as her part in ensuring its swift implementation. We are also delighted to honor the decades-long contributions of Deutsche Bank as Private Sector Partner of the Year, including Deutsche’s creation of the innovative DB Share program and the bank’s longstanding support of both the Network and our nonprofit providers.

Our 2017 Gala Committee will be co-chaired by Hercules Argyriou of Mega Contracting and Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living. This year’s Gala Committee includes Oliver Chase of Hirschen, Singer & Epstein, Mark Fuller of DePaul, Brenda Rosen of Breaking Ground, and William Traylor of Richman Housing Resources.

As usual, we will once again be honoring outstanding supportive housing tenants and residences and have just extended the nomination deadline for both to August 15th. Click here to nominate a residence, and here to nominate a tenant.  

We look forward to seeing you and celebrating your achievements this October!

Hope you can join us!

| What's New, Network Events

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