Budget passed on April 1st.
The New York State SFY 2016-17 budget passed on April 1st. While much of the public debate this year was focused on a minimum wage increase, paid family leave, and shifts in Medicaid costs, there are several areas of the budget that will impact the supportive housing community in the upcoming year. Budget highlights of particular interest include:
NEW Multi-Year Statewide Housing Program Funded
The final budget includes $1.97 billion in capital funding for a multi-year housing program that will need to be approved by Governor Cuomo, Temporary President of the Senate and Speaker of the Assembly, and the Legislature via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) over the next few months. A portion of this capital funding supports the first 6,000 units of the Governor’s 15 year commitment to build 20,000 supportive housing units across the state.
An additional $124.5 million was included in the final budget for service and operating expenses for the first 6,000 units over the next 5 years. $74.5 million was re-appropriated from last year’s JP Morgan settlement funds and an additional $50 million was added in this year’s budget. We are hopeful that the state will be issuing a Services and Operating Request for Proposals as soon as possible, so we can begin creating this desperately needed housing.
Housing Trust Fund Increased, HHAP Flat Funded
The Legislature accepted the Executive’s proposal to increase funding for Homes and Community Renewal’s (HCR) Housing Trust Fund (HTF). The final budget funds it at $54.2 million, a $6.5 million increase from last year’s level. OTDA’s Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) was funded at the Executive’s proposal of $63.5 million, the same level as last year.
NEW: HHAP did not close down their 2015 RFP process. It is still open and the new 2016 funding is available. It will remain open and continue to be rolling. HCR is also planning on issuing a new RFP some time this month for both supportive and affordable housing project. More details TBA.
Services Funding Increased - Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) Homeless Housing Preventative Services Budget
Service funding for the combined New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP) and Operating Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH) was funded at the Executive’s proposed amount of $34.2 million. In addition, the final budget added an additional $600,000 for the NYS Supportive Housing Program, bringing the total NYSSHP program budget to $29.7 million.
Office of Mental Health Supported Housing Rates Baselined
The $50 million in JP Morgan settlement funding, ($10 million per year for five years) that was included in last year’s budget as a way to help offset cost increases in scatter-site housing in areas with rapidly escalating fair market rents was maintained in this year’s budget again, however, there was no additional funding added.
Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Funding Supported
The final budget funds the MRT Supportive Housing Program at $254 million over two years. $127 million is budgeted for SFY 2016-17 and $127 million is budgeted for SFY 2017-18. $88 million of this funding which is supporting the MRT Supportive Housing capital program is now funded through tax exempt bonds rather than through the Medicaid budget. The entire program will continue to provide service funds, rent subsidies and capital dollars to create supportive housing for high-cost Medicaid recipients.
Public Authorities Control Board and Bond Cap Language Omitted
The final budget omitted the Executive’s proposals to add additional oversight to the process by which localities use volume cap including giving the Public Authorities Control Board the authority to approve or disapprove individual housing projects funded through tax-exempt bonds and Empire State Development Corporation having approval on the allocation amount being transferred to the city.
$15/hour minimum wage
The budget puts New York State on track to increase the minimum wage as follows:
- NYC-$15 by 2018 (2019 for employers with less than 10 employees)
- Long Island and Westchester-$15 by 2021
- Rest of State- $12.50 by 2021, with an economic study to determine future increases
- The increases are scheduled to begin at the end of 2016
Nonprofit agencies, including the Network, strongly support this increase while advocating for the increased costs be offset by increases in their state contracts. The governor acknowledged that “hardships” for nonprofits would be considered, and there appears to be small funding lines added in both OASAS ($800K) and OMH ($600K), as well as other parts of the budget, specifically to address minimum wage increases. Details on how nonprofits would be required to demonstrate hardship to access additional funding remains unclear. We will update our members, as more information becomes available.
On behalf of the Network and our members we would like to thank Governor Cuomo and his staff, the Division of Budget, the NYS Senate (specifically Senator Young, Finance Chair; Senator Little, Housing Committee Chair; Senator Carlucci, Social Services Committee Chair; Senator Hannon, Health Committee Chair; and Senator Ortt, Mental Health Committee Chair), the NYS Assembly (specifically, Assemblyman Wright, Housing Committee Chair; Assemblyman Hevesi, Social Services Committee Chair; Assemblyman Gottfried, Health Committee Chair and Assemblywoman Gunther, Mental Health Committee Chair) and all of the staff in both houses who worked tirelessly to put this budget together. We deeply appreciate your continuing commitment to supportive housing.