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17th Annual Supportive Housing Conference


Network Executive Director Laura Mascuch addressing the crowd at the 17th annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference.

The 17th Annual Supportive Housing Conference was a celebration of our community’s remarkable achievement in winning historic state and city commitments to create 35,000 supportive housing units over the next fifteen years. The Network’s new Board Chair Brenda Rosen welcomed the crowd. Network Executive Director Laura Mascuch introduced Assembly Member and key legislative ally Andrew Hevesi who reminded us of how much we’ve achieved, and of what challenges remain in the coming years. The National Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund Richard A. Hooks Wayman delivered a stirring keynote speech on the particular challenges facing homeless families and children in our country.

The conference took off with eight simultaneous workshops to follow the morning session including a discussion with key city and state policy makers, “NYC & NYS: Addressing the Homelessness & Affordable Housing Crisis” with NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner and CEO RuthAnne Visnauskas, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)’s Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn, and NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan, and moderated by the Network’s Laura Mascuch.

Jonathan Soto of the NYC Center for Faith and Community Partnerships moderated our workshop on creating partnerships with  faith-based organizations to develop supportive housing, and featured Greg Maher of The Leviticus Fund, Sam Marks of Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC, Richard Nightingale of Westhab, and Pastor Kermitt Williams of Kingdom Faith Developers.

Another morning panel focused on promoting people of color in leadership roles, and featured Elizabeth Garcia of Good Shepherd Services, Dr. Rosa Gil of Comunilife, Kelsey Louie of GMHC, and Frederick Shack of Urban Pathways, and was moderated by the Network’s Edline Jacquet.

Another popular session, “Innovating with ESSHI,” featured David Condliffe of Center for Community Alternatives, Lee Dillon of Tompkins Community Action, Paul Freitag of West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Jennica Petrik-Huff of The Community Builders, William J. Simmons of Syracuse Housing Authority and Martin Teller of Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency, and was moderated by the Network’s Stephen Piasecki.

Attendees enjoyed a networking luncheon and then returned for two rounds of afternoon workshops.

Some highlights from the afternoon workshops included a thought-provoking conversation about how the City’s commitment to creating 15,000 new units of supportive housing is going to be realized with HRA’s Patricia Dawson, HPD’s Emily Lehman, and Katherine O’Sullivan of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and moderated by HRA’s Michael Bosket.

A standing-room-only discussion on best practices for intervention and a safety planning framework to prevent the escalation of violence within the specific context of supportive housing featured Maureen Curtis of Safe Horizon, Lisa Rachmuth of HRA, and Joscelyn Truitt  of Brooklyn Family Justice Center/Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and was moderated by HRA’s Daniel Tietz.

Dan Berstein of MH Mediate, and Maria R. Volpe of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice discussed different approaches to conflict resolution, in our first-ever workshop offering on this subject, and were introduced by Community Access’ Steve Coe.

Nixon Peabody’s Deborah VanAmerongen moderated a panel on how our community can  work together to protect the programs vital to the creation of supportive housing under the Trump administration, that featured Steve Berg of National Alliance to End Homelessness, Emily Cadik of Enterprise Community Partners and Sarah Mickelson of National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Another afternoon workshop “Addressing Youth Homeless in New York City,” moderated by City Council person Ritchie Torres, featured David Hansell of NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Susan Haskell of NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and Maryanne Schretzman of NYC Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence.

Rachael Pine of the Altman Foundation moderated a popular workshop on Urban Pathways’ program for integrating healthcare in housing that featured Kishea Paulemont, Ariana Saunders, and Irene Treadwell of Urban Pathways, and Freddy Fortoso of EssenMed Health Care.

Following a brief coffee break sponsored by Capital One, participants reconvened for a final round of workshops, including an intensive analysis of the first year of the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) with HCR’s Sean Fitzgerald, Kerri Neifeld of the NYS Governor’s Office, OMH’s Moira Tashjian, and OTDA’s Richard Umholtz, and moderated by DePaul’s Mark Fuller.

A discussion on financing development in uncertain times featuring HCR’s Leora Jontef, Paula Roy Carethers of NYC Housing Development Corporation, Ralph Fasano of Concern for Independent Living, and Martin Dunn of Dunn Development Corporation, moderated by Richard Roberts of Red Stone Equity Partners, was a hit with attendees.

Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Hospital’s Chauntel Gerdes moderated a standing-room-only panel that offered tools to help agencies work through secondary stress with staff, and featured Mary Adams of University Settlement/The Door, Shaun Adams of Center for Urban Community Services, and Celso Batista of Breaking Ground.

This year’s workshops reflected the incredible diversity of our community. Check out workshop PowerPoints, watch videos, and listen to audio files of our workshops here.

Lamb Financial Group sponsored our ever-popular cocktail reception in the Marriott Marquis’ spectacular lounge overlooking Broadway.

We’d like to express our enormous gratitude to everyone who attended, spoke at, and volunteered for the conference. We salute you, and we thank you for working together to win the largest commitment to supportive housing in history. Hope to see you again at next year’s conference!

Watch our conference slideshow here.

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17th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference Just Over One Week Away!


Scenes from the 2016 conference.

We hope you will join us for the 17th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference! This year’s conference will take place on Thursday, June 1st at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. You may register online for this event through the end of the day, Friday, May 26th.

This year, the conference will focus on how our community will implement Mayor de Blasio’s and Governor Cuomo’s historic commitments to create 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next fifteen years.

There will be 23 different workshops on subjects of critical importance to our supportive housing community. Click here to read more about our 2017 conference workshops.

The New York State Supportive Housing Conference is the single best
place for supportive housing’s leaders to learn what is going on in our
world. We expect 1,500 guests this year and will hear from more than
100 experts, innovators and leaders in the field.

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Time: 8:00am-6:30pm
Location: New York Marriott Marquis
Address: 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

If you’d like to register for the conference after May 26th, please contact Raj Hosein via email or fax this form to 646-237-8505.

Hope to see you on June 1st!

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Supportive Housing & Faith-Based Organizations Forum: Shared Mission to Care for New Yorkers in Need


Sharing a blessing at the forum for leaders of faith institutions. Photo credit: Chris Lowry.

On May 12, the Network, in partnership with the Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, hosted a forum for leaders of faith institutions who may want to either develop or champion supportive housing. Generously donated by Breaking Ground, the ballroom of their beautifully-restored supportive housing residence, The Prince George, served as a perfect setting for the event.

Jonathan Soto, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, welcomed the crowd of 100. Network Executive Director Laura Mascuch, introduced attendees to supportive housing and its history, noting its strong roots in the faith community.

Jessica Katz, Associate Commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), encouraged attendees to lead their communities in advocating for supportive housing when nonprofits come to communities seeking support for new residences,

Breaking Ground’s David Beer talked about two projects completed in partnership with faith-based organizations. In one, Breaking Ground worked with a church to both buy property and air rights, allowing Breaking Ground to develop 115 units of supportive housing while allowing the church to pay off its mortgage and renovate its worship space. In another example, Breaking Ground worked with South Bronx Churches who helped champion plans for the Brook residence in the South Bronx. 

Yvonne Stennett, of Community League of the Heights, eloquently described how important it is to get to know people who live and work in supportive housing, saying, “Many of the naysayers just don't understand and are afraid."  She also observed that “creating housing with supportive services for our most vulnerable people is God's work."

Reverend Laura Jervis, who founded West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, made comments that resonated deeply with the audience: “The faith community has advocated for people who are homeless since time immemorial. We have more in common than we have differences.”

She continued, “If you are considering sharing your property and resources – as people of faith, we know we are just stewards, of the property we occupy, I’d like to leave you with four ideas:

  • It takes some spiritual strength to develop housing. I would suggest that you draw deeply upon the resources in your faith tradition. That you really dig into your sacred texts. That you pray, you meditate, you ask your worship leaders to preach on what it means to be a member of your faith and to care for others. What are you being called to do in the face of this crisis.
  • The second thing is to get to know a supportive housing building in your neighborhood. Get to know the staff, but also the folks who live there. There are many ways to do that. They will remind you of people in your family, people you already know. You can drop off magazines, stop in, volunteer to help with the garden, lead a group.
  • The third thing is to step up when a nonprofit group is siting a building in your neighborhood. Understand what the development is going to be, what it’s going to look like, and support it even when it goes against the opinions of your neighbors. Dig deep to do the right thing and welcome these new neighbors into your community.
  • And the fourth thing is to follow up about today’s event. The nonprofit partner organizations would love to come and talk with you about what it means to share your property with supportive housing. You’ll find yourself being a prophetic voice and a moral voice.”

Our deep thanks to our speakers, to the leaders of faith institutions who joined us for the event, to our partners at the Mayor’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Our hope that this is the first step in a fruitful journey together!

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2017 Annual Meeting Recap


Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer addressing the crowd at Scandinavia House.

Network members gathered on the evening of March 9 at Scandinavia House for the Network’s Annual Meeting. Nonprofit providers, architects, developers and other members of our community came together to meet, mingle and hear about the past year’s accomplishments.

Newly-appointed HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer addressed the 100 attendees before dashing off to attend a Town Hall meeting in Brooklyn. She expressed her delight at being named Commissioner, noting that although she had not worked specifically in housing, she had a long career in community and economic development most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, as well as at her very first job in New York City working at  LISC.

Ms. Torres-Springer also spoke movingly about her lived experience of the importance of stable housing, having grown up  in Section 8 housing. She recounted how terrified her entire family became on the day of annual Section 8 recertification, knowing if it did not go well, her family would become homeless.  She effusively praised Network members, pictures of whose new residences graced the room, for the spectacular work they do every day housing New York’s most vulnerable individuals and applauded the Network as a national model for supportive housing advocacy.  

Executive Director Laura Mascuch then welcomed members and gave an update on the Network’s accomplishments in 2016 ending with a call to stay strong in the face of what will unquestionably be enormous challenges in 2017. But, she concluded, “we’ve always been fighters.”  Executive Director of Concern for Independent Living Ralph Fasano stood in for Network Board Chair Bill Traylor in welcoming guests, and, as Board Treasurer, presented the Network’s financials. Guests spent the evening networking, marveling at the beautiful new residences adorning the walls and showcased in a slideshow, as well as checking out a slideshow of photos from openings and other events from 2016. Catered by the incomparable City Beet Kitchen, the event once again reminded us how lucky we are to represent this stellar community.

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Network’s Lobby Day : Meetings with 60+ Legislators in Albany


Network members and Executive Director Laura Mascuch with Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz.

On March 1st, the Network hosted our annual Albany lobby day.  Over 130 of our members’ tenants and staff took part in over 60 legislative meetings, including face to face meetings with the Assembly Chairs of Social Services, Mental Health and Housing.

Our legislative agenda received robust bi-partisan support.  We continue to press for a complete affordable and supportive housing plan, to be funded at $2.5 billion.  This is the first step to implement the plan for 20,000 units of supportive housing over 15 years that the Governor announced in January of 2016.

We also pressed for $35.7 million to raise the rates for all Office of Mental Health Housing, which have been stagnant since the 1990s.  This includes OMH scattered site and also some NY/NY 1 and 2 projects that have not even seen meager increases.

Finally, we called for $4.2 million increase in the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s New York State Supportive Housing Program.  This would fund programs on the waiting list and restore cuts to existing supportive housing programs.

Thanks to all of our members who joined us for an amazing and effective day.

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Network Hosts a Panel with State Government Partners


Laura Mascuch, Marian Zucker, Moira Tashjian, Rick Umholtz, Bret Garwood at the Network panel discussion.

On Tuesday, January 24th the Network hosted a panel discussion with our state government partners about the new ways New York State is implementing its supportive housing program through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) and coordinating capital programs: NYS Homes & Community Renewal's Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP) and the Office of Temporary Disability & Assistance Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP). The event was held at JP Morgan Chase Bank in NYC and had over 100 Network members attend.

Panelists included: Bret Garwood, Senior Vice President, Multifamily, NYS Homes & Community Renewal; Moira Tashjian, Associate Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health, and Chair of the ESSHI Interagency Workgroup; Rick Umholtz, Director for the Bureau of Housing and Support Services, NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance and Marian Zucker, President, Finance & Development, NYS Homes & Community Renewal.  The Network’s Executive Director, Laura Mascuch, moderated.

Panelists covered details about ESSHI, SHOP and HHAP including how these programs all intersect with one another, how to decide what capital resources to apply for, ESSHI timeframes, etc.  Panelists also discussed what's next for 2017 and answered questions about how to best access and use this new program.

In 2016, Governor Cuomo announced a commitment to fund 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years.  As part of this commitment, NYS is rolling out the development of 1,200 units a year across the state.  To do this, they created a brand new services and operating program called the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) intended to be coordinated with various state and local capital resources. The Network is working with our members, government partners and stakeholders in the private sector to help build capacity in the supportive housing community to ensure we can meet the state's goal to develop and fund 1,200 units a year over the next 5 years and a total of 20,000 units over the next 15.

Special thank you to JPMorgan Chase Bank for graciously hosting and sponsoring the event.

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Notes from Excluded


On October 27th, the Fortune Society, John Jay College’s Prison Re-entry Institute, the Network, and CSH hosted a conference on the obstacles people with criminal justice involvement face trying to access safe, affordable housing and promising practices as to how to overcome them.  The sold-out event attracted a deeply engaged audience of 250 people. The Fortune Society’s Stanley Richards, the first formerly incarcerated individual appointed by the City Council to be a member of the NYC Board of Corrections, acted as the host for the day.

The day began with an in-depth conversation about the fundamental values and vision that drive  policy related to providing housing and services  to justice-involved people. Jerilyn Perine, Executive Director of the Citizens Housing Planning Council, spoke eloquently about the essential connection between decent housing and personal well-being.  Ana Oliveira, President of the New York Women’s Foundation, forcefully declared that housing is a human right, fundamental to a person’s dignity and ability to achieve one’s full potential. Anthony Thompson, Professor of Criminal Law at NYU law School, spoke powerfully about the importance of valuing the concept of redemption in creating housing policy for justice involved individuals. This opening conversation was facilitated by Ann Jacobs from PRI.

Other panels focused on the barriers justice-involved individuals face  accessing housing as well as promising practices in New York and around the country for addressing those impediments. Panelists in the five subject-specific discussions included experts from  advocacy organizations including the Osborne Association, the Vera Institute, and MFY Legal Services; housing providers including the Fortune Society, Housing + Solutions, and Greenhope Services for Women; government agencies including the City’s Human Resources Administration, the State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the NYS Council on Community Re-entry and Reintegration, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the Kings County DA’s Office; as well as research and academic institutions including the Urban Institute and NYU’s Furman Center; as well as, panelists with lived experience. One of the highlights of the panel on translating values into action was civil rights attorney John Relman discussing progress on the Fortune Society’s groundbreaking litigation challenging  blanket bans on housing applicants with criminal justice histories. He also spoke eloquently about the role that historical racism has played in mass incarceration policies.

The Network’s Laura Mascuch moderated a panel discussion on successful models for addressing the housing and service needs of justice-involved people from New York and around the country. As part of that panel, Jocelyn Fontaine from the Urban Institute spoke of an  innovative program in Ohio in which the Corrections Department is funding supportive housing for disabled homeless individuals exiting prison.

The conference included a series of mini “TED Talks” about several innovative programs and promising practices which included NYCHA’s Family Re-entry Pilot Program, the FUSE initiative, the City’s Justice Involved Supportive Housing (JISH) and Drew House, the nation’s alternative to incarceration program for women with children. Other highlights included Yolanda Johnson-Perkin’s spirited presentation on the NYCHA pilot and Rita Zimmer, Executive Director of Housing + Solutions, tossing “Get out of Jail Free” cards from the Monopoly game to illustrate the importance of providing people with alternatives to incarceration.

There are plans to release a report based on the conference, which the Network will share with our members upon publication.

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The Founders of Supportive Housing Recognized at the Network’s Annual Awards Gala


The founders of the supportive housing movement.
New York's supportive housing community came together on October 13th for a particularly special version of our annual Network Awards Gala in a year that saw historic commitments from the Governor and Mayor for 35,000 new units of supportive housing. We honored Father John McVean, Father John Felice, Ellen Baxter, Tony Hannigan, John Tynan, Laura Jervis, Stephan Russo, Connie Tempel, David Gillcrist (for Project FIND) and our own Bill Traylor --  the pioneers of the supportive housing movement.

More than 600 guests joined us at Capitale to celebrate these outstanding individuals of supportive housing 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, in addition to the distinctive recognition offered to our founders, we honored two remarkable tenants, three outstanding residences, and a Private Sector Partner of the Year, Alembic Community Development.

Network Board Chair and Richman Housing Resources President Bill Traylor 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.

Shatiera Freeman, of The Door and Breaking Ground, accepted the first of the evening’s two Tenant of the Year awards from the Network’s Sydney Kopp-Richardson. Ms. Freeman, a young adult who has spent much of her life in foster care, has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others, most recently in her work as a peer counselor with PAUS (Peers Against Unsafe Sex).

The Network’s Rebecca Sauer presented our upstate Residence of the Year award to Marlies Wesolowski of Lt. Colonel Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York for their gorgeous Hope Gardens residence, serving 20 chronically homeless women. Ms. Wesolowski spoke movingly about her own experiences growing with a single mom in deplorable public housing “as a small child I’d wake up with a rat crawling across my bed” and described how profoundly this affected her choice to work in supportive housing.

Steve Coe, of Community Access, welcomed Mark Reed of Alembic Community Development to the podium to receive our Private Sector Partner of the Year award, and talked about the huge impact that Alembic has made on New York supportive housing. Alembic’s Co-Founder Mark Reed noted that nonprofits are critical to supportive housing development.

Father John Felice of St. Francis Friends of the Poor.

Network Chair Bill Traylor introduced the special honorees from the founding of the movement with heartfelt words and the personal insight of someone who began his career in supportive housing working with these icons. He invited Father John Felice of St. Francis Friends of the Poor and the other founders in the audience to the stage to receive this Distinctive Recognition– a group in which Traylor himself is included. Father Felice spoke about the early days, and the founders got a standing ovation from the crowd in recognition of their transformative achievements in creating and nurturing our supportive housing movement.

Ms. Sauer presented the second Residence of the Year Award to Dan Johannson of ACMH, Inc., who graciously shared credit with the many amazing partners involved in creating East 144th Street Affordable Housing, all of whom are longtime Network supporters.

The final Tenant of the Year Award was presented to Shannon Landy of Community Access by Ms. Kopp-Richardson. Ms. Landy spoke in detail about the life of incomprehensible trauma that she lived before finding a new life thanks to supportive housing. She is now an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and people living with mental illness.

The magnificent renovation of Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Capitol Hall residence claimed the final Residence of the Year Award, presented by Ms. Sauer to Stephan Russo, who gave kudos to the many collaborators who came together to so effectively prepare this early supportive housing residence for the coming decades.

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!

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New This Year: Case Management Certificate Accreditation


This year, the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Institute and the Network will offer members the opportunity to accumulate the 25 credits needed to complete the Case Management Certificate Program by attending a six-module comprehensive training series designed to offer direct service staff a nuts-to-bolts overview of case management services.  Upon completion of all six trainings, licensed social workers who attend will qualify for 25 Continuing Education credits and certification of completion of the entire series.

CE credits are also available for a number of other trainings offered this year.

This semester’s calendar of workshops includes a set of Trauma Informed Care modules (10 Social Work CE Credits).  The first training overviews trauma and the related diagnosis as well as explores what Trauma Informed Services look like.  The second training emphasizes how to offer support to persons who have histories of trauma in a way that creates a positive therapeutic connection and keeps the individual feeling safe.

This semester’s offerings also includes a popular new training on Aging and Wellness in Supportive Housing, as well as some old favorites including Psychiatric Overview, Understanding Compulsive Hoarding and Coordinating Property Management and Social Services.

All trainings will be held at CUCS located at 198 East 121st Street, 5th floor.  Registration and sign-in starts at 9am.  Trainings start promptly at 9:30am and end at 3:30pm.  To qualify for Social Work Continuing Education credits, attendees must be there on time and stay through the entire training.

The Network and the CUCS Institute have developed this year’s training collaboration based on membership feedback and needs, providing Social Work or OASAS CE Credits for all trainings this year. 

Founded in 1979, the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) is a comprehensive human service agency and the nation’s largest provider of supportive housing social services.  The CUCS Institute is a leader in the provision of training to professionals in New York City and nationally.  The trainers are at the forefront of emerging research and train on a range of topics related to housing and homelessness, behavioral health, criminal justice and clinical practice.  The CUCS Institute is recognized as a continuing education provider by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work for licensed social workers and by New York State’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

For more information on registering or training content, please contact CUCS Institute.

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16th Annual Supportive Housing Conference


Executive Director Laura Mascuch welcomes the crowd.

The 16th Annual Supportive Housing Conference brought together some 1,300 members of the New York supportive housing community – the largest such gathering in the country -- to celebrate our major achievements this past year: securing commitments from the Mayor and Governor for 35,000 new units (although we are still hanging fire on the Governor’s 20K)!  Network Board Treasurer Ralph Fasano and Executive Director Laura Mascuch welcomed the crowd. Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio offered opening remarks, followed by greetings from the Governor delivered by Jamie Rubin, the Commissioner and CEO of NYS’ Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). The Center for Urban Community Services’ Tony Hannigan, who has been innovating in supportive housing for more than 30 years, described the journey, and introduced two tenants, Jamar Daniels and Enrique Pagan, who shared their personal stories of change and redemption, a crucial and humbling reminder of the human impact of our movement.

We’d like to express enormous gratitude to everyone who attended, spoke and volunteered at the 16th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference. We host the conference to shine a light on the extraordinary work being done by our more than 200 nonprofit members. We salute you, and we thank you for creating 50,000 units of supportive housing in New York State and, through working together, winning the largest commitments to supportive housing in history.

This year’s workshops reflected the incredible diversity of our community. To learn more about each workshop – including sessions on housing young families, joint ventures, zoning text amendments (ZQA), hoarding, housing first, and many other topics – follow this link.

The conference took off with eight simultaneous workshops to follow the morning session, including one on “Tackling the Housing and Homelessness Crisis” with NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been, NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Perrin, NYS HCR Commissioner and CEO James S. Rubin, and NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) Commissioner and M.D. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. Panelists discussed the city and state programs initiated to meet the housing needs of vulnerable New Yorkers.

Another morning workshop informed attendees on the innovative new methods of financing supportive housing projects and featured NYC HPD Division of Special Needs Housing Director of Planning and Development Emily Lehman, Win Vice President of Real Estate Jerry Mascuch, NYC Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney, and Nixon Peabody LLP Strategic Policy Advisor Deborah VanAmerongen.

Robert Myers, Ph.D, Senior Deputy Commissioner & Division Director, NYS Office of Mental Health, and Gary Belkin, M.D., Executive Deputy Commissioner for Mental Hygiene, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene led a wide-ranging conversation about what HCBS, DSRIP, and ThriveNYC mean for supportive housing.

Other panels addressed increasingly important issues like serving particularly vulnerable families, such as those with young parents. Panelists included Services for the UnderServed Child Life Specialist Janell Abraham, Parenting Journey Training Director Andrele Jean-Charles, Good Shepherd Services Child Life and Independent Living Specialist Theresa Munson, The Door Program Director Reed Christian, and Services for the UnderServed Clinical Supervisor Emily Wyman.

Attendees had a chance to network over lunch and then returned for early afternoon panels, of which there were seven diverse options. In a session entitled “NYC’s 15,000 Units! Nuts & Bolts” NYC HPD Assistant Commissioner and Special Advisor of Housing Jessica Katz, NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) Deputy Commissioner for Supportive and Affordable Housing and Services Kristin Misner-Gutierrez, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Gail Wolsk discussed the Supportive Housing Task Force’s progress and future.

Simultaneously, a discussion on joint ventures in supportive housing featured Services for the UnderServed Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Property Development Arlo Monell Chase, ShermanLaw Attorney Karen Sherman, and Alembic Community Development Principal Benjamin Warnke.

Every seat was filled at a session regarding 4% tax credits and how they can be used to help finance supportive housing projects, as Betts Housing Partners LLC President Chris Betts, Concern for Independent Living Executive Director Ralph Fasano and NYS HCR President of Finance and Development Marian Zucker gave examples from their experiences and kept the crowd laughing and engaged.

The Meditation workshop featured short meditations with Leslie Booker, Founder of the Urban Sangha Project & Director of Trainings at Lineage Project, and Daiken Nelson, Sensei and Founder of Mandala Kitchens & Café, and insights into the challenges and opportunities of meditation practice with Sasha Parmasad, TM Instructor & Associate Director of the Women’s Initiative at the David Lynch Foundation, and was moderated by Jonathan Rose, President of Rose Companies & Co-Founder of the Garrison Institute.

BronxWorks Inc.’s Assistant Executive Director Scott Auwarter, West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc.’s Program Director Joe McKenzie-Hamilton, and Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter Inc.’s Program Director Robert Yancey discussed the use of a housing first approach for a broad range of populations.

Following a brief coffee break, participants reconvened for a final round of panels, including a discussion with state agency leaders on accessing various resources to ensure the construction of 6,000 units of supportive housing in the next five years. NYS HCR Multifamily Programs Senior Vice President Bret Garwood, NYS OTDA Bureau of Housing and Support Service’s Assistant Director Brett Hebner, NYS DOH Office of Health Insurance Programs Bureau Director Denard Cummings, and OMH Adult Community Care Group Division of Adult Services Associate Commissioner Moira Tashjian offered insights to providers, advocates and various members of the supportive housing community.

A discussion on the successes and challenges of NY/NY III featuring NYC HRA Deputy Commissioner Michael Bosket, NYC DOHMH Assistant Commissioner and M.D. Myla Harrison and CAMBA’s President and CEO Joanne Oplustil was greeted with nods and a slew of interesting and relevant questions.

Other sessions included a presentation on zoning text amendments or ZQA, as copious information was provided by NYC HPD Building and Land Development Services Assistant Commissioner John E. Gearrity, NYC Department of Buildings Borough Commissioner Development Hub RA Scott D. Pavan, Urban Architectural Initiatives AIA and Partner Tony Shitemi, and NYC Department of City Planning Strategic Planning Deputy Executive Director Howard Slatkin.

We’d like to thank the nearly 1,500 registered attendees so much for making this day an absolute pleasure!


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