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NY/NY 1- First City and State Agreement for Supportive Housing image

NY/NY 1- First City and State Agreement for Supportive Housing


The first New York/New York Agreement was signed in 1990 in response to rising homelessness among people with mental illness and the declining number of SROs (Single Residence Occupancy buildings) in the City. It was the largest housing initiative for homeless mentally ill people in history and, at its peak, had a significant impact on lowering the shelter census. Here are seven of its greatest achievements!

No 1: First multi-year commitment to creating supportive housing

  • NY/NY was the first long-term commitment to supportive housing, promising to create thousands of units of housing for homeless mentally ill individuals.

No 2: First collaboration between the City and State to provide housing to mentally ill New Yorkers

  • It was the first coordinated effort by the city and state to give mentally ill homeless New Yorkers a place to live and also provide them with the support services they need to stay housed

No 3: NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) recognized housing as critical to mental health provision

  • Prior to the Agreement, the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) had never funded the construction of permanent housing for mentally ill people, nor paid for on-site services to keep mentally ill people in permanent housing. Allocating capital money to build housing reversed years of OMH policy and signaled a historic change in the agency’s mission by acknowledging that the provision of stable, affordable housing was an integral part of mental health treatment.

No 4: Nonprofit providers were funded and relied upon for their expertise

  • The agreement funded and relied on local nonprofit developers and providers who were already combining housing with support services to take on this expansion of supportive housing

No 5: Record number of people get supportive housing

  • 4,679 homeless people with psychiatric disabilities were placed into service-enriched housing created by the agreements

No 6: More housing led to a decline in the shelter census

  • As residences opened their doors during the first five years of the Agreement, the municipal single-adult shelter census steadily declined, falling by more than a third

No 7: Provided information for first peer-reviewed study of the cost impact of supportive housing  

  • A study done that tracked those with mental illnesses living in supportive housing found that once placed into service-enriched housing, a homeless mentally ill individual reduces his or her use of publicly funded services by an average of $12,145 per year
  • Study also finds that cost of homelessness for this population is more than $40,000

for a full history of the NY/NY Agreement, see A History of the New York/New York Agreement