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Showing Posts by Date: 11/2016

NY Faith Leaders Mark Thanksgiving With Plea for Homeless Housing


The advent of Thanksgiving inspired faith leaders across New York State to call on the Governor to make good on his nearly year-old promise to create 20,000 homes for the most vulnerable homeless New Yorkers over the next fifteen years and release funds to pay for the first 6,000. Pastors and other religious representatives from Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, and Long Island spoke of the crushing need in their own communities as well as the shocking number of homeless people statewide.

Father Pizarelli, founder of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson noted that after a particularly ugly election season, Governor Cuomo could provide much needed moral leadership by ensuring his promise of 20,000 units of supportive housing lives on through the next fifteen years (link here). Pastor John Carter at Abundant Life Christian Center in East Syracuse wrote that more than 4,600 people in Onondaga County experienced homelessness in 2015. Of those, almost 1,200 were children (link here). Pastor J.J. Hefley of First Assembly of God Church in Binghamton noted that the number of homeless New Yorkers outnumbers the combined populations of both Binghamton AND Ithaca (link here). And Peter Cook, Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches, penned an op-ed in the Albany Times-Union, noting “Without a written agreement and a long-term funding plan, these (20,000 promised) homes won't be developed, and New Yorkers will continue to suffer more difficult winters,” (link here).

The recent opinion pieces built on the faith community’s unwavering support for the creation of sufficient supportive housing to meet the needs of New York’s most vulnerable homeless individuals. More than 270 faith-based organizations have signed on as supporters of the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing.

The Network joins these leaders in their insistence on immediate action and asks that you click HERE to send a message to the Governor, Senate and Assembly leaders to sign the Memorandum of Understanding now.

| In the Media, What's New, New York State

Beautiful Ebenezer Square Apartments Opens in West Seneca


Ebenezer Square Apartments

Living Opportunities of DePaul opened a beautiful supportive housing development, Ebenezer Square Apartments, in West Seneca on November 17th. The mixed-use development rises on the site of a long-vacant big-box store and features 100 affordable apartments, 75 of which are supportive housing units for persons in recovery from mental illness. The name Ebenezer Square is a nod to the Ebenezer Colonies which consisted of settlements of Inspirationists who migrated to what is now the town of West Seneca from Germany in 1843.

Living Opportunities of DePaul’s President Mark H. Fuller welcome the crowd, saying "DePaul is so proud to be part of the West Seneca community. Ebenezer Square is an example of progress and partnership in action."

Dignitaries present included NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan; State Senator Timothy Kennedy; West Seneca Town Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan; West Seneca Town Councilman Gene Hart; OMH’s Moira Tashjian; NYS HCR’s Leonard Skrill; Commissioner Michael Ranney of the Erie County Mental Health Department; and State Assembly Member Michael P. Kearns.

Commissioner Sullivan said, “Residential programs such as Ebenezer have been shown to help their clients find lasting recovery and better connection with their surrounding communities. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State continues to expand the opportunities and options which enable individuals with disabilities to live fully integrated lives in their home communities.”

Residents have access to lounge areas on each floor, outdoor picnic areas, a community room and off-street parking. A green building, Ebenezer Square features the latest energy-saving solar technology: a 150-kilowatt solar array will account for about 75 percent of the building's electrical usage, funded in large part by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and using New York State Solar Tax Credits.

Development partners included the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR), New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH), and Red Stone Equity. On-site services are funded by NYS OMH. The architect was SWBR Architects and the contractor was Calamar Construction. The syndicator was Red Stone Equity.

| What's New, New York State, Openings

20,000 Letters Campaign Launched to Urge Leaders to SIGN THE MOU


On November 21, the Network, as part of the Campaign for NY/NY Housing, launched a new advocacy initiative to send 20,000 messages to our legislators in Albany – one for every supportive housing unit promised – to urge the Governor and Legislature to SIGN THE MOU TODAY and fulfill the supportive housing promise made last year!  

If you haven’t done so already, click here to tell our legislative leaders to SIGN THE MOU!

Last year we fought for a historic commitment from the State to fund 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years.  As you know, last year’s budget included $2 billion to fund, among other things, the first installment on that commitment -- 6,000 units of supportive housing over the next 5 years.  However, the State has only released funding for the first 1,200 units.  In order to release the remaining funding, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is required to be signed by the Governor, Senate and Assembly.

The good news is our supportive housing campaign, THANKS IN LARGE PART TO YOU, was the only program that had funding released last year!!!  So, thank you!!!  With that in mind, we ask for you to again click the link to show the Governor and Legislature that we remain vigilant as ever in our quest to release the remaining funds for the 4,800 initial units of supportive housing both the Governor and Legislature agreed to fund.  Please participate and encourage others to do so as well.

Our battle is not over.  Every email counts. 

The initiative was covered by:

Capital Tonight, "Housing Experts Discuss Housing MOU."

The New York Daily News, “Homeless advocates call on Gov. Cuomo to get 6,000 new supportive housing units up and running.”

| In the Media, What's New, Funding, New York State

NYC Programs Help Buildings Go Green


Volunteers of America's Creston Avenue residence is considered "ultra-green."

The City of New York has several green building programs that will help with the City’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels (80x50). These programs support tenants, superintendents, building owners and decision-makers from every demographic and nearly all building sizes to make building improvements to reduce GHG emissions while generating cost savings and preserving affordability. Taken together, these programs are now working with owners and decision-makers of more than 3,800 buildings representing more than 8 percent of the built square footage across New York City, and these numbers continue to grow. To get started, contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator. Their experts will connect you to the resources and program like the ones below that make sense for your building and support you throughout your energy or water retrofit.

The NYC Retrofit Accelerator offers free, personalized advisory services that streamline the process of making building energy efficiency improvements that will reduce operating costs, enhance tenant comfort, and improve our environment.  The NYC Retrofit Accelerator’s team of Efficiency Advisors should be your first step to creating an energy and water efficiency plan that best suits your building’s needs.  For more information contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator at,, or 212-656-9202.

Community Retrofit NYC is a complementary program to the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, designed to support small and mid-sized building owners in central Brooklyn and southern Queens to pursue energy and water retrofits. The team works with owners through every step of a retrofit process, from identifying opportunities for saving, to connecting to incentives, to helping select a contractor for a project. Contact Community Retrofit NYC at or call (347) 762-4792. Learn more at

The NYC Benchmarking Help Center (BHC) supports large buildings owners annually reporting their energy and water use under the NYC Benchmarking Law, and will begin helping owners of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to comply by 2018. The BHC provides one-on-one guidance, presentations, trainings, and other resources. In order to prepare building owners, the BHC will also conduct extensive outreach in advance of the deadline. Contact the, and 212-566-5584.‎

NYC Building Operator Training is a no-cost, 30-hour training program for small-to-mid-sized multifamily buildings, which can improve the skills of operations & maintenance staff and help save up to 20% in energy costs. The training covers critical building systems (heating, electrical, and water) with an emphasis on preventative maintenance and energy efficiency. The program is planned to be launched in late 2016 and will have multiple classes available in locations throughout the City in 2017. Learn more and apply at

The NYC Carbon Challenge for Multifamily Buildings is a voluntary leadership program, recognizing and promoting residential property management companies that commit to reduce GHG emissions across selected buildings in their portfolios by at least 30 percent by making cost-saving energy efficiency improvements. To date, 20 New York City based residential property management firms have committed to the Challenge, pledging to reduce the GHG emissions from over 900 multifamily buildings over ten years. For more information on joining the Carbon Challenge, visit or email

HPD’s Green Housing Preservation Program assists small- and mid-size building owners finance energy efficiency and water conservation measures, along with moderate rehabilitation work, through low- and no-interest loans. The Program strives to help owners undertake improvements to reduce operating costs and keep rents and/or maintenance affordable. For more information, please click here.

DEP, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is offering a discount on water and sewer rates for eligible HPD or HDC-assisted affordable multifamily housing projects. Eligible projects can receive a $250 credit per residential unit on their fiscal year 2017 water and sewer bill(s) on a first-come, first serve basis as enrollment is limited.  In order to qualify, buildings must: have average collectible rents or maintenance fees that are affordable to households earning up to 60% of the area median income; have an executed and recorded regulatory agreement with HPD or HDC that restricts 100% of residential units with at least 15 years remaining; all buildings charged on the MCP rate must be compliant with MCP’s conservation criteria; all buildings must be in good standing with the City by demonstrating current payments or payment plans with DEP and the Department of Finance. 

Utilities also have resources and incentives that can help you finance your energy retrofit.

The National Grid Direct Install Multifamily Program – Long Island, Brooklyn, parts of Queens, Staten Island provides gas and water efficiency measures to residents of properties with 5 or more units with eligible National Grid gas accounts in that utility's NYC and Long Island service territories. Residents get: free high-efficiency showerheads; free water saving aerators and showerheads (in buildings with eligible National Grid gas accounts) to save the building money on its water bill and domestic hot water heating. If feasible, the property may also receive free installation of thermostatic radiator valves ("TRVs") to improve the distribution of heat among the apartments. Call 800-427-6318 to find out if your gas-heated building is eligible and to apply for these free energy saving measures which are installed by the Association for Energy Affordability, National Grid's implementation vendor. For more information about National Grid multifamily energy efficiency incentives, call Vince Perez at 718.292.6733 ext. 8251. 

Con Edison has renamed its multifamily program, which is now called the Consolidated Multi Family Program (CMFP).  The program is now open to multifamily properties of 5 or more units.  Network members with larger buildings that were not eligible for the original Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program may wish to enroll their buildings under the expanded CMFP program. Affordable Housing properties with eligible Con Edison firm gas accounts can get: free air sealing; free boiler tune-ups, up to 10 free LED light bulbs installed per apartment; free water saving aerators and showerheads (in buildings with eligible Con Edison gas accounts) to save the building money on its water bill and domestic hot water heating; free thermostatic radiator valves ("TRVs") in apartments (in buildings with one-pipe steam where installation is feasible); “custom” efficiency measures not included in the program's list of prescriptive incentives (with an approved custom measure assessment); free common area lighting and electrical measures  - only for properties served by Con Edison networks in targeted demand management areas (such as the “BQDM” area of Brooklyn and Queens). For more information, email Marta Bell at the Association for Energy Affordability, Inc. or call her at 212-279-4307.

| What's New, New York City

A beautiful new supportive housing development opens on Long Island


Cutting the ribbon at Liberty Landing.

Concern for Independent Living opened a magnificent new supportive housing development, Liberty Landing, in Ronkonkoma on October 26th. The 59-unit supportive housing development houses 30 formerly homeless veterans, and offers the other 28 units as affordable housing for low income Long Island families, many of whom are also veterans. There are 40 one-bedroom apartments, 15 two-bedroom apartments, and 3 three-bedroom apartments, as well as one unit for the superintendent.

Liberty Landing is beautifully landscaped with trees, flowering bushes, and well-manicured lawns around each unit. Residents have access to a spacious and welcoming community building with an exercise room, a computer room and a room for community gatherings. In addition, the grounds offer many opportunities for recreational activities, such as basketball and bocce. 

The grand opening ceremony began with raising the American and military services’ flags over Liberty Landing, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Concern’s Executive Director and Network Board Member and Treasurer Ralph Fasano graciously welcomed the crowd.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said “No veteran should ever be homeless – that’s the kind of travesty that should never happen. This development is making a difference.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Marian Zucker, reading from a letter from Governor Andrew Cuomo, said, “Liberty Landing is an incredible example of what can be accomplished when we come together as state agencies.”

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, “Housing alone isn’t enough. You have to give (tenants) wraparound services to maintain their health.”

Tenants Frank Giaramida, a combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Specialist Sarahh Galiotte also spoke. Ms. Galiotte shared a moving story of trauma and recovery, thanks to having stable housing with onsite services, “This is the first time in my whole life I’ve been at peace with my surroundings. Thanks for giving us a second chance to survive.”

Other dignitaries who spoke included: Senator Thomas D. Croci; Assemblyman Al Graf; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven Edward Romaine; National Equity Fund’s Tony Thesing; Community Preservation Corporation’s Michael Skrebutenas; and Bank of America’s Maurice Coleman.

Funding for Liberty Landing came from the New York State Office of Mental Health; New York State Homes and Community Renewal; the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Suffolk County and The Home Depot Foundation. A construction loan was provided by Bank of America with the permanent financing to be provided by The Community Preservation Corporation.

Onsite services are provided by Concern and are funded by NYS Office of Mental Health. The syndicator is National Equity Fund, the architect is DeLaCour, Ferrara & Church, and the contractor is Jobco, Inc. 

| What's New, New York State, Openings