Creating 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next fifteen years.
Some 90 providers, investors, lawyers and city and state government representatives gathered at Fortune Society’s Castle Gardens on September 28th to hear about the City’s NYC 15/15 initiative which seeks to create 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next fifteen years. The panel, moderated by our own Laura Mascuch, featured HRA Deputy Commissioner of Supportive/Affordable Housing & Services Kristin Misner Gutierrez, HPD Deputy Director of the Supportive Housing Loan Program Theresa Cassano, and DOHMH Senior Director, Office of Housing Services Gail Wolsk. Of special interest to those in attendance was information about the City’s newly minted rental assistance program which will be separate from service contracts and entirely funded by the City’s tax levy funds.
Stanley Richards of Fortune Society welcomed guests with a wish that the residence in which the panel was situated served as an inspiration to those developing the next wave of supportive housing.
Kristin Misner Gutierrez presented a quick overview of NYC 15/15 – both the congregate and the scattered site programs. She summarized the six month process through which the City and the provider community used data and on-the-ground experience to develop recommendations for improving systems and rates, recommendations that the City then integrated into NYC 15/15. She also laid out the City’s expectations as to how many units will go to which populations, both in terms of scattered site and single site units.
Gail Wolsk then summarized some of the innovations in service contracts that are new under NYC 15/15, including 1:15 caseloads, programs for families that must include services for children, and the requirement that services be evidence-informed.
Theresa Cassano then took over, laying out for the first time the City’s rental assistance program that will be paired with the NYC 15/15 service contracts. She explained that both service and rental assistance contracts can be used in a number of HPD programs beyond the Supportive Housing Loan Program, including ELLA and Mix and Match. The new subsidy will closely resemble Project Based Section 8, although, because the funding is all City tax levy, the subsidy will not trigger Davis-Bacon. Ms. Cassano told attendees that HPD has been meeting with both providers and investors about the subsidy program to address questions and concerns.
The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer period covering a range of concerns about both the scattered site and the single site programs. Panelists also stayed after the session ended to answer participants’ questions one-on-one.
Stay tuned for a Guest Blog Post from the three participants answering frequently asked questions.