Categories: New York State
Voting remotely, the NYS Legislature has passed the SFY 20-2021 budget, which mostly mirrors what the Governor proposed in January for supportive housing. This is an unprecedented time with the state facing a great deal of uncertainty about future revenue and COVID-19-related costs. Given our current circumstances, we are grateful to the state for maintaining existing supportive housing service and development funding levels.
We also understand this budget could change over the next few weeks as lawmakers determine how much federal aid will be coming into the state and if they can maintain the existing revenue projections. If the state doesn’t have enough revenue to cover expenses, the Division of Budget is authorized to make across the board cuts.
Here is our analysis of the various budget areas important to the supportive housing community that is included in the final budget.
FIVE YEAR HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS PLAN
Included in the final SFY 20-2021 budget is a re-appropriation of the state’s $2.5 billion five-year housing and homelessness plan that includes funding for 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years. This will fund the last year of the five-year commitment, the first tranche of the Governor’s promise of 20,000 units over 15 years. There was no language or funding included in the budget that commits or funds the remaining 14,000 units.
OFFICE OF TEMPORARY AND DISABILITY ASSISTANCE
Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) - $128 million. This is a $64 million increase from last year's budget. HHAP has long been under-funded and oversubscribed. We are thrilled to see this need reflected in the final budget.
Homeless Housing Prevention Services Program - $42.6 million. This is a $2.8 million INCREASE from last year’s final budget. HHPS funds the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP) and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH) Program. The Network is advocating that this additional funding be used for COVID-19 costs that will exceed current program budgets.
OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH
OMH Supportive Housing - $20 million
The budget adds a $20 million INCREASE from last year’s final budget for existing supported housing and single residence occupancy programs.
OMH Preservation Capital - $60 million
The budget adds another $60 million in capital to maintain and preserve community-based residential settings that allow people with mental illness to live in the most integrated setting possible.
HOMES & COMMUNITY RENEWAL (HCR)
Housing Trust Fund (HTF) - $44.2 million
HTF remained flat-funded at last year’s final budget level.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (DOH)
Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Program (MRT) - $63 million
This program was cut significantly in the executive budget. The proposed budget was $26 million but was restored to $63 million in the 30 day amendments, rescuing existing MRT supportive housing programs including more than 1,700 existing scattered site units under OMH, OASAS, DOH and AIDS Institute. The final budget maintains the $63 million budget.
The final budget includes prevailing wage requirements for construction projects in which the total project costs are at least $5 million and 30% of a project is financed by public funds. The legislation takes effect January 1, 2022. Exempt from the legislation is:
- Construction work on one or two family dwellings where the property is the owner's primary residence, or construction work performed on property where the owner of the property owns no more than four dwelling units;
- Construction work performed under a contract with a not-for-profit corporation other than a not-for-profit corporation formed exclusively for the purpose of holding title to property and collecting income thereof or any public entity as defined in this section where the not-for-profit corporation has gross annual revenue and support less than five million dollars;
- Construction work performed on a multiple residence and/or ancillary amenities or installations that is wholly privately owned in any of the following circumstances (except as provided for by the section of the law that creates the public subsidy board):
- where no less than twenty-five percent of the residential units are affordable and shall be retained subject to an anticipated regulatory agreement with a local, state, or federal governmental entity, or a not-for-profit entity with an anticipated formal agreement with a local, state, or federal governmental entity for purposes of providing affordable housing in a given locality or region provided that the period of affordability for a residential unit deemed affordable under the provisions of this paragraph shall be for no less than fifteen years from the date of construction; or
- where no less than thirty-five percent of the residential units involves the provision of supportive housing services for vulnerable populations provided that such units are subject to an anticipated regulatory agreement with a local, state, or federal governmental entity; or
- any newly created programs for affordable or subsidized housing as determined by the public subsidy board
The language outlines the makeup and responsibilities of the public subsidy board as follows:
- The public subsidy board will be made up of 13 members
- It will be established in April, 2021
- The legislation takes effect on January 1, 2022
- Upon request, the board will issue guidance to developers on whether or not projects comply with the various exemptions and/or rules;
- The Board also has the authority to review the overall exemptions and make recommendations if anything needs to be changed statewide or regionally. Although it is unclear what enforcement power it has.
- The board can also delay implementation of the effective date (Jan 1, 2022)
The budget did not support a 3% increase for all human services contracts for the next five years.
POTENTIAL BUDGET MODIFICATIONS
Due to COVID-19, the budget also includes language giving the state the ability to make across-the-board cuts if there is not enough revenue to cover expenses. This will be evaluated on a rolling basis throughout the year starting in mid-April, mid-June and in December.
Supportive housing providers are on the front lines of this pandemic. We can’t do this alone and need a strong partnership with our government partners in order to keep our tenants and staff safe and out of our overtaxed healthcare system. We will continue to keep our members informed as events unfold. Thank you to all of you for the superhuman work you are doing and to our local and state officials supporting us through this challenging time.