Governor Hochul’s budget proposal continues New York’s historic investment in expanding supportive housing statewide, recognizing that the combination of on-site services with affordable housing is a powerful and proven approach to combatting chronic homelessness.
We greatly appreciate the governor’s full commitment to the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), a 15-year plan to develop 20,000 supporting housing units, and her advancement of funding for year two of the five-year plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes. Her call to add 3,500 more units of mental health housing is also welcome.
Governor Hochul clearly understands the dire need for more affordable housing options, which she has addressed by trying to make it easier to build new units across the state.
We are deeply concerned, however, that the governor’s well-intentioned initiatives to address the mounting affordable housing and homelessness crises will be undercut by the failure to invest in preserving existing housing.
We need the state to both creating a service and operating Preservation Fund to unlock the hundreds of millions in preservation capital funding in last year’s budget as well as finally bring 30-year-old rates of the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) up to 21st century levels.
The 2.5 percent cost of living increase for mental and behavior health workers proposed by the governor is not nearly sufficient to address this workforce crisis, or to cover skyrocketing costs for everything from gas and food to utilities and insurance. And once again, the workers under NYSSHP are not included!
We look forward to working in the coming weeks with our legislative champions to address these issues to ensure the units we continue to create are not simply replacing those at risk due to historic underfunding.