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Learning How to Lobby: The Network Offers Members a How-To on Advocacy and Lobbying

03.22.2019

On February 28, about a week before the Network’s annual Lobby Day, some 40 member staff and tenants joined the Network for an interactive workshop generously hosted by Urban Pathways at the Ivan Shapiro House in Manhattan. The training featured everything from the fundamentals of the state budget process to how to navigate the Capitol Building. Yet an overarching goal was to incorporate tenants’ and staff’s real-life experiences in order to forcefully communicate the need for additional funding for supportive housing.

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


“A Tree Grows on Arthur” Through Supportive Housing in the Bronx

03.18.2019

About 100 people gathered on March 1st under a heated tent in the Bronx to celebrate Hebrew Home at Riverdale’s groundbreaking of Arthur Avenue Apartments, the result of its second collaboration with Foxy Management. The building promises 54 supportive housing units reserved for formerly homeless or chronically medically ill residents out of a total of 176 affordable housing units dedicated to low-income older adults.

Shelly Fox, president and CEO of Foxy Management, and Jeff Fox, executive vice president and general counsel for Foxy Management, welcomed attendees and introduced the special guests to the event — including Jeff Fox’s one-year-old son. This was especially symbolic given that the Fox family’s presence in the Bronx had begun four generations earlier with Shelly Fox’s father settling first in the borough, where Foxy Management is based.

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| What's New, New York City, Member News, Groundbreakings


The Network Offers Analysis of NYS Assembly and Senate “One House” Bills

03.15.2019

On March 13th, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed their budget bills, and began negotiations with the Executive office with the aim of passing a finalized budget by April 1st.

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| What's New, Funding, New York State, Research


Down Payment Assistance Fund for Nonprofit Developers Launches

03.12.2019

The Supportive Housing Network is excited to help announce the launch of the Down Payment Assistance Fund (DPAF), whose creation resulted from a multi-year collaboration among stakeholders seeking to accelerate supportive housing development in New York City. DPAF is intended to assist nonprofit developers with down payments on property, allowing them to move more rapidly into contract for privately-owned sites. The nonprofits’ ownership will ensure the long-term affordability of the housing developed with DPAF as well as provide critical social services. Eligible projects will include supportive housing residences, in which the majority of units are supportive, and affordable residences in which at least 30 percent of units are set aside as supportive.

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| What's New, Funding, New York City, Member News


The Network, Members and Tenants Meet with Over 60 Legislators in Albany

03.11.2019

One of the Network’s most beloved days of the year – Lobby Day – began at the crack of dawn on March 5th with staff and tenants from all over the state traveling to Albany for a day of impressing on state legislators the urgent need for increased, adequate funding for new and existing supportive housing. More than 100 tenants and staff from more than 30 organizations met with more than 60 legislators and their staff.

One of the most powerful aspects of our meetings was the presence of tenants who shared real-life stories of how supportive housing has transformed their lives in a holistic, sustainable way. As one tenant said with the conviction of a lived experience:

“Supportive housing is not only a place to be or a roof over the head, but a set of tools and services that empower a person to get back up… and stay up.”

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


Guest Blog: ACL Executive Director and Bring It Home Campaign Coordinator Toni Lasicki

02.26.2019

For decades, community-based mental health housing has been consistently underfunded, endangering the wellbeing of 40,000 New York State residents who rely on these programs for support as they navigate living independently with serious and persistent mental health conditions.

In response to New York State dragging its feet on an issue that requires immediate and adequate fiscal support, a group of mental health housing providers, mental health advocates, faith leaders, and consumers came together to create the Bring It Home coalition. With a shared goal of ensuring sufficient and properly allocated funding for mental health housing programs, coalition members have been working tirelessly to help state leaders understand the gravity of the consequences should the mental health housing system fail.

Since the inception of our coalition in 2017, we’ve been taking action to enhance state lawmakers’ understanding of the crucial services provided by mental health housing programs. A number of local and state leaders joined us for tours of mental health housing facilities where they got to meet overworked and underpaid housing providers and staff, and see where funding is most desperately needed. Additionally, our advocates set up meetings with executive branch leaders to further the conversations surrounding the cycle of mental health housing and homelessness and how we can better support those afflicted with both through community-based housing programs.

We also created an e-mail campaign which gave supporters across New York the ability to send a message directly to Governor Cuomo’s inbox. As of February 2019, there have been 27,000 e-mails sent reminding the governor of his obligation to fund mental health housing programs that are critical to the recovery of so many New Yorkers.

This month, we started holding weekly rallies across New York State calling on Governor Cuomo and the legislature to significantly increase funding for life-saving mental health housing programs. Dozens of advocates, supporters, and residents have joined us to protest at state offices in Albany, New York City, Long Island (pictured above), Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo securing coverage in newspapers, television, and radio throughout the state.

Bring It Home knows that it will take $172 million, at a minimum, to stabilize approximately 40,000 units of mental health housing. We are advocating that it be added to the 2019/2020 state budget or, alternatively, that the Governor and Legislature add $32 million this year and in each of the next four years to address the crisis.  

It’s encouraging to watch as the Bring It Home coalition expands its reach to all corners of New York State. We owe it to our friends, family, and neighbors whose lives have been touched by severe mental illnesses to do everything in our power to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents. As the Bring It Home coalition gains momentum, we look forward to finally seeing a better, stronger, and fully funded mental health housing system for all New Yorkers living with severe mental health conditions.

Updates on progress and information about upcoming events can be found on the Bring It Home FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. For more information about the Bring It Home mission and data on the mental health housing funding shortfalls, visit BringItHomeNYS.org.  

| What's New


2018-2019 Federal Budget Signed Into Law

02.25.2019

The FY 2018-2019 budget, due October 1, 2018 was signed into law on February 15, 2019.  Congress provided an additional $1 billion to the HUD budget over FY 2018, a total appropriation of $53.8 billion. The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance grant program grew by 5% to $2.6 billion, higher than any earlier proposal from the House or Senate. The bill provides enough resources to renew all Housing Choice and Project Based Rental Assistance Vouchers, while rejecting harmful work requirements and changes to rent rules that would raise costs for tenants.

Other HUD programs that the Network advocates for received slight decreases, including Section 202, Section 811 and HOME. No existing units will be lost due to these cuts. On a brighter note, HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS) received an $18 million increase and an additional $40 million was appropriated for new VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers. Funding for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) was included along with authorizing legislation until 2028.

Congress should begin working on the FY 2019-2020 budget immediately, and must again lift the budget caps to avoid another round of across the board cuts resulting from the Budget Control Act. Lifting of those caps was essential to gaining funding increases over the past two years.

Please plan on joining the Network at the National Alliance to End Homelessness lobby day in Washington D.C. on July 24th!
 

| What's New


Network Testifies at NYS Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Human Services

01.28.2019

On January 24th, Laura Mascuch provided testimony to the New York State Senate and Assembly at the SFY 2019-20 Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the Executive Budget’s proposal on human services.  She emphasized the importance of both the Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) and the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) and the need to increase funding for both programs in this year’s final budget.

The hearing was led by Committee Chair’s Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, and were joined by several of their fellow Senate and Assembly members including Human Services Chairs, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Senator Roxanne Persaud. OTDA’s Executive Deputy Commissioner, Barbara Guinn also testified about the OTDA budget and many times discussed the critical role supportive housing plays in addressing homelessness in New York State.

You can read the Network’s testimony here.

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Governor Releases SFY 2020 Executive Budget

01.16.2019

On January 15th, Governor Cuomo released the SFY 2020 Executive Budget
 
Here is our first analysis of the various budget areas important to the supportive housing community. We will update you as more information becomes available.
 
FIVE YEAR HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS PLAN
Included in the executive budget is a re-appropriation of the state’s $2.5 billion five year housing and homelessness plan that includes funding for 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years. This specifically includes $950 million in capital funding and $124.5 million for service and operating expenses for the first 6,000 units over the next five years.
 

OFFICE OF TEMPORARY AND DISABILITY ASSISTANCE

  • Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) - $64 million - no increase from last year's budget. HHAP, OTDA's homeless housing capital program, continues to be significantly underfunded. This will an advocacy priority for the Network this year.
  • Homeless Housing Prevention Services Program - $39.8 million - $3 million INCREASE - HHPS funds the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP) and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH) Program. 

 HOMES & COMMUNITY RENEWAL

  • Housing Trust Fund - $44.2 million - no increase from last year’s budget.

 

OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH

  • OMH Supportive Housing – $10 million INCREASE for existing supported housing and single residence occupancy programs. This is significantly less than what is needed to maintain the existing units and will be an advocacy priority for the Network this year.
  • OMH Preservation Capital - $60 million. The Budget includes $60 million to maintain and preserve community-based residential facilities that allow people with mental illness to live in the most integrated setting possible.
  • Workforce Increase The Budget includes no cost of living adjustment.


 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH/MEDICAID REDESIGN TEAM (MRT)

  • MRT Supportive Housing Fund - $98 million over 2 years - This includes full funding for the MRT Supportive Housing Program.
  • Federal Medicaid Waiver - As a part of this year's budget initiatives, the State will apply for a waiver to leverage Federal funding for certain supportive housing services currently funded with State-only dollars including: 1) housing transition services; 2) tenancy support services; and 3) housing-related collaborative activities. The Network will be analyzing this initiative.

 
In addition to these budget items, the Governor highlighted in his State of the State address that reforming the state’s rent regulation laws should take a top priority this year. He specifically mentioned eliminating vacancy decontrol, ending preferential rent limits, limiting building apartment improvement charges and strengthening the tenant protection unit “so we actually enforce those laws.” 
 
He also mentioned that all construction projects with public subsidies should be subject to prevailing wage. 
 
We are awaiting more details on these two issues and how they might impact existing supportive housing units as well as future projects and will let you know when we have more information.
 
The budget now must be passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor no later than April 1st. In the next few weeks, the Senate and the Assembly will hold budget hearings and negotiate with the Governor. The Network’s advocacy in the upcoming weeks will focus on the proposed initiatives outlined above. 


We are currently planning a March 5th Advocacy Day. We encourage all Network members to participate. More information to follow.


Please contact Maclain Berhaupt or Steve Piasecki with any questions.

| What's New


Discretionary Capital Funding Available

01.09.2019

Every year, Borough Presidents and City Council Members provide capital funding to nonprofits, schools, and other organizations for projects throughout each borough. This discretionary capital funding (formerly known as Reso A) is valuable subsidy for supportive and affordable housing development projects in NYC. This funding can be helpful to fill a gap in a development budget.

Starting now, nonprofits can apply for grants through the CapGrants portal or applications listed on Elected Officials’ websites. Awards are typically announced in the summer. To receive funding, applicants should schedule a meeting with the representative before submitting the application to discuss the project details. Below are the typical deadlines, though some elected officials have additional requirements and deadlines:

Borough President Requests: February 20th

City Council Requests: March 26th

Specific information for representatives can be found here:

Brooklyn Borough President: To apply to the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office for capital funding for Fiscal Year 2020, organizations must fill out an application by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. In addition, organizations should complete the CapGrants portal application by 5 pm on February 20, 2019.

Bronx Borough President: The office is currently accepting Letters of Intent for Fiscal Year 2020 and orgnaizations should send a letter as soon as possible. Organizations must apply by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

Manhattan Borough President: Nonprofits can apply for grants on the city’s CapGrants portal. Organizations must apply by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

Queens Borough President: Organizations are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Organizations must apply by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

Staten Island Borough President: All requests for capital funding from the Staten Island Borough President must be submitted via mail or email. Applications also should be submitted with a cover letter. The deadline to submit the SI BP’s online capital funding application is Friday, February 10th, 2019. Organizations must also apply through CapGrants by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

City Council Members: Apply through the CapGrants portal by March 26, 2019.

| What's New, Funding, New York City


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