A balmy morning on August 20th found local, city, and state representatives; civic association leaders; church reverends and other supporters joining Network member Win to celebrate a new supportive housing residence on the Upper East Side. Come this fall, the residence will welcome 17 formerly homeless women and their children.
Under a gorgeous summer sky on August 5th, new residents, supporters, and local community officials gathered with Network member Hebrew Home at Riverdale to celebrate new housing in the Bronx. An addition to an existing building, the residence meets a deep need for affordable and supportive housing by providing 167 affordable units for extremely low-income seniors, including 51 supportive units for those who have previously experienced homelessness.
Hebrew Home at Riverdale is providing the on-site social services for residents, as well as referrals to off-site medical and social services.
On August 16th, New York State released the fourth-round Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) Request for Proposals (RFP), due on September 25, 2019. The State is issuing this RFP to advance the five-year goal of developing 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years. Funding for at least 1,200 qualifying individuals will be awarded through this RFP.
By Toni Lasicki, Executive Director of Association for Community Living
This year’s final state budget, passed in April, included a small amount of funding for Office of Mental Health (OMH) housing rate increases and rehab and renovation of existing housing stock. While appreciated, we know it is not nearly enough to address years of disinvestment of the system, which needs a much larger infusion of resources to remain viable.
Therefore, at the end of the 2019 Legislative Session in June, the Assembly and Senate unanimously passed the “Mental Health Housing Commission Bill” (S5637/A7489) to create a temporary Office of Mental Health Housing Program Evaluation Commission. This commission would make determinations and recommendations regarding OMH mental health housing on the adequacy of funding levels, numbers of direct care and professional staff, the level of programmatic needs of the residents, and the ability of the programs to meet such needs. These programs have not been evaluated, nor has the acuity of the clients in their care been evaluated, in more than 30 years.
Supportive housing pioneer and Community Access CEO Steve Coe retired after four decades of leadership. He is succeeded by Cal Hedigan, who joined in 1999 and was previously Deputy CEO.
Steve’s vision for the organization earned him a reputation as an early innovator for mental health housing. He revolutionized public perceptions of people with mental health concerns with an approach that celebrated residents’ individual dignity and ability to determine their own life paths.