Conference Workshop Descriptions

SERIES A: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Shaping the Future of Housing and Support: Insights from NYC Commissioners            ASTOR BALLROOM, 7th Floor
NYC Commissioners discuss key strategies for New York’s newest arrivals’ support, shelter exit strategies, and clearing cash assistance backlogs. Learn about new housing units, record exits to permanent housing, and enhanced inter-agency collaboration. Explore the benefits and challenges of Housing Connect and the latest DOHMH developments.

Dr. H. Jean Wright, II, he/him, Executive Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Mental Hygiene
Adolfo Carrión, he/him, Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development
Molly Wasow Park, she/her, Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Social Services

Moderator: Nicole Branca, she/her, Executive Director, New Destiny Housing

Mediation Skills Training                                                                                                          SOHO COMPLEX, 7th Floor
This interactive workshop will help attendees navigate conflicts by equipping them with skills that mediators use. Peace Institute coordinators will talk about what a typical mediation looks like, practice active listening and gathering information skills, and learn the brain science behind what happens when people are in conflict. Participants will come away from the workshop with practical skills that can be used immediately.

Rachel Bai, she/her, Coordinator of Training and Conflict Consulting, New York Peace Institute
Onawa Gigliotti, she/her, Housing Mediation Program Coordinator, New York Peace Institute

Introductory remarks: Tracy Perrizo, she/her, Program Officer, New York City Program, Helmsley Charitable Trust

Enhancing Stability: Innovative Service Models for Supportive Housing                    EMPIRE COMPLEX, 7th Floor
Join leading experts to discuss how to augment services in supportive housing to promote stability. Panelists will explore various models, including ACT and CCBHC teams, crisis stabilization centers, and the need for interdisciplinary teams with flexible funding. Learn how to re-envision staffing models to effectively address complex needs and enhance service delivery in supportive housing.

Debbian Fletcher-Blake, she/her, President & CEO, VIP Community Services
Cal Hedigan, she/her, Chief Executive Officer, Community Access
Jody Rudin, she/her, President and Chief Executive Officer, ICL

 Moderator: John Rojas, he/him, Chief Special Services Officer, NYC. Department of Social Services

Understanding New Ways to Prevent and Resolve a Crisis                                            MAJESTIC COMPLEX, 6th Floor
This workshop will focus on new options for supportive housing staff to work with tenants, peers and outside organizations to plan for, prevent and resolve crisis situations.  Included will be an overview of wellness planning, new guidance on staff interactions with hospitals pre- and post discharge, advance directives and alternatives to AOT. 

Deborah Cumberbatch, she/her, Vice President, Services for the UnderServed
Luke Sikinyi, he/him, Director of Public Policy and Public Engagement, NY Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
Carol Heard, she/her, S.O.S Peer Specialist, ACMH
Chris Smith, he/him, Associate Commissioner, New York State Office of Mental Health

Moderator: James Mutton, he/him, Associate Executive Director of NYC Operations, Concern Housing

Empowering Future Leaders: BIPOC Mentorship in Nonprofits                                    SHUBERT COMPLEX, 6th Floor
This workshop panel focuses on the transformative impact of mentorship for BIPOC professionals in the nonprofit sector. Expert panelists will share strategies for creating effective mentorship programs, discuss the unique challenges faced by BIPOC individuals, and highlight success stories that demonstrate the power of mentorship. Join us to explore how fostering strong mentor-mentee relationships can build a more inclusive and equitable nonprofit landscape.

Tania Capaz Topping , she/her, Executive Director, Somos Inc.

Dianne Morales, she/ella, Founder/ CEO, Still Rising
Rasheed Ford, he/him, Area Director, Housing Operations, Project Hospitality
Emily Chen, she/her, Managing Director East Region, National Equity Fund

Moderator: Jonathan Castro, he/him, Senior Director, Jericho Project

A New Lifesaving Overdose Strategy                                                                                   CANTOR/JOLSON, 9th Floor
A new device, LifeguardLite, is saving lives by alerting housing staff and emergency services in the event of an overdose, preventing over 1,000 deaths since its inception. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, LifeguardLite is just beginning its partnerships in the United States, which includes working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on a pilot. Join this session to learn more about this new innovative technology and how it can be operationalized in supportive housing in New York City, its recent work with The Bridge, and its future In New York State.

Jeff Hardy, Founder, Lifeguard Digital Health
Lexa Flye, she/her, Director of Clinical Risk Management, The Bridge

Moderator: Jamie Sinclair, she/her, Manager of Supportive Housing Solutions, Lifeguard Digital Health

State of Supportive Housing: What We Learned, Where We’re Headed                      WILDER, 4th Floor
The Network spent a year analyzing data on the entire portfolio of supportive housing in NYS and released an inaugural report detailing the landscape, including unit counts, the wide variety of eligibility criteria, and the major discrepancies in service funding. This session will discuss the report’s findings, as well as the progress on major supportive housing initiatives and the need for preservation.

Rachel Barth, she/her, Senior Data Analyst, Supportive Housing Network of New York
Kim Darga, she/her, Deputy Commissioner for Development, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
Brian Kavanagh, he/him, State Senator, Chair of the Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, New York State Senate
Matt Murphy, he/him, Executive Director, NYU Furman Center

Moderator: Ben Max, he/him, Executive Editor and Program Director, Center for NYC Law, New York Law School

The Power of Tenant Leaders: Building Stronger Communities                                     ODETS, 4th Floor
Tenant leaders and advocates are essential to creating thriving supportive housing communities. Join us to hear from tenant leaders across the state who act as “mayors of their buildings”, advocate for their neighbors, and serve on advisory committees. Discover how they foster strong, supportive communities within their residences and improve relations among neighbors and the broader community. 

Christopher Crawford, Tenant Advisory Leader, Goddard Riverside
Bishop Kenneth Kelly, Founder of Unity in the Community Worldwide Inc, Tenant Leader, Hudson River Housing

Charles Kerecz, Tenant Leader, Project FIND
Sophia Stanley, Tenant Leader, YWCA Rochester

Moderator: Will Woods, he/him, Consumer Advocate/Resident Advisory Committee Member, Urban Pathways 


SERIES B 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

How NYS is Addressing the Homelessness, Mental Health and Overdose Crises    ASTOR BALLROOM, 7th Floor
Housing, homelessness, mental health, and addiction are all urgent priorities for New York State.  Hear how state agencies are responding to these challenges and the role that supportive housing plays. 

Chinazo Cunningham, she/her, Commissioner, NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports
Barbara Guinn, she/her, Commissioner, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Ann Marie T. Sullivan, she/her, Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health
RuthAnne Visnauskas, she/her, Commissioner/CEO, NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Moderator: Blanca Ramirez, she/her, President and Chief Executive Officer, Comunilife

Risky Business: Insurance                                                                                                  SOHO COMPLEX, 7th Floor
Insurance costs are skyrocketing for supportive housing providers.  Find out what can be done about it.  Topics include risk mitigation strategies, Captive Insurance and shopping for the best coverage.

Patrick Boyle, he/him, Senior Director, Enterprise Community Partners
James Dill, he/him, Executive Director, Housing and Services, Inc.
Amanda Hayde, she/her, Director of Operations, Camber Property Group
Dustin Worthman, he/him, Regional Director of Sales, Lamb Insurance Services

Moderator: Baaba Halm, she/her, Vice President and Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners 

Harm Reduction in Practice                                                                                            EMPIRE COMPLEX, 7th Floor
In this session MATTERS will provide an overview of harm reduction, commonly used substances, and its resources for individuals and organizations working to address substance use disorder. Lantern Community Services will discuss how they have implemented harm reduction in their residences, their success dedicating a team to harm reduction programming, how they embed these practices in organizational culture, and cultivating buy-in from staff and tenants.

Mia Dickinson, she/her, Harm Reduction Coordinator, MATTERS
Sharayah Hoffman, they/them, Assistant Director of Harm Reduction, Lantern Community Services
Brooke Langella, she/her, Long Island and NYC Regional Outreach Coordinator, MATTERS
Irene Walcott, she/her/ella, Director of Behavioral Health, Lantern Community Services

Brian Carmichael, he/him, Peer Advocate, Activist and Health Educator, Lantern Community Services
William Lacey, he/him, Peer Advocate, Activist and Health Educator, Lantern Community Services

Exploring Hotel Conversions and Beyond                                                               MAJESTIC COMPLEX, 6th Floor
Join us for a deep dive into hotel conversions into affordable, master-lease and supportive housing. Our panel experts will navigate the capital stack, tackle NIMBYism, leverage master-leasing, and explore the unique potential of 501c3 Bonds. Delve into the opportunities and challenges of hotel conversions sans tax credits. Gain vital insights to propel your projects forward in today's dynamic market.

Emily Hamilton, she/her, Managing Director of Real Estate Development, RUPCO
Emily Kurtz, she/her, Vice President, Housing, Riseboro
Brenda Rosen, she/her, Chief Executive Officer, Breaking Ground
David Schwartz, he/him, Co-Founder and Principal, Slate Property Group

Moderator: Janaki Chadha, she/her, Housing Reporter, Politico

Transformative Justice: What Happens After Incidents of Harm?                  SHUBERT COMPLEX, 6th Floor
After incidents of violence, threatened violence or harm, staff and clients alike ask for accountability. But what does it mean to foster accountability from a place of building community, welcoming and connection? BRC will present on its pilot, the principles of transformative justice, how this can philosophically and practically be embedded in our work to be person- and community-centered, and implementation lessons learned. 

Tanya Brown, she/her, Program Director, BRC
Madeline Martinez, she/her, Clinical Supervisor, BRC
Kelly Quirk, she/her, Chief Program Officer, BRC

Introducer: Nicole Clare, she/her, Chief Real Estate Officer, BRC

Support Not Punishment: Ending the Criminalization of Homelessness         CANTOR/JOLSON, 9th Floor
This panel of state and national experts will delve into the harmful effects of criminalizing homelessness and present effective community alternatives. Key cases, such as Johnson v. Grants Pass, and federal and state efforts will be examined. Discover how housing solutions and policy changes can create a supportive rather than punitive approach. Join us to explore innovative strategies that prioritize compassion and support.

Ryan Moser, he/they, Vice President, Corporation for Supportive Housing
Sarah Saadian, she/her, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Field Organizing, National Low Income Housing Coalition
Eric Tars, he/him, Legal Director, National Housing Law Project
Marcy Thompson, she/her, Vice President of Programs and Policy, National Alliance to End Homelessness

Donald Whitehead, he/him, Executive Director, National Coalition for the Homeless

Moderator: Latrice M. Walker, she/her, NYS Assembly member

Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response                                                         WILDER, 4th Floor
Since 2015, in New York City alone, police have killed twenty people who were experiencing a mental health crisis, the majority of them people of color. This interactive workshop will highlight alternative mental health crisis response systems across the country.  Panelists will identify strategies for implementing peer-led, culturally competent, non-police crisis response systems in New York, and collectively envision a continuum of care that prioritizes crisis prevention.

Sheina Banatte, she/her, Managing Director of Advocacy, Justice for Eudes Pierre Coalition, Peer Advocate, Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT-NYC)
Olivia Ensign, she/her, Senior Advocate/Researcher, US Program, Human Rights Watch
Evelyn Graham-Nyaasi, she/her, Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT-NYC), Daniel’s Law Coalition, NYU Health x Housing Speakers Bureau & Peer Network, Justice Peer Initiative, NAMI Ambassador
Beth Haroules, she/her, Director, Disability Justice Litigation, New York Civil Liberties Union

Moderator: Jordyn Rosenthal, she/her, Director of Advocacy, Community Access, Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT-NYC)

Establishing and Maintaining Boundaries                                                             ODETS, 4th Floor
Join this training on staff/tenant boundaries that was designed especially for supportive housing providers. Learn to establish and maintain professional boundaries in the unique circumstance of a workplace that is also someone else's home. Attendees will learn the importance of knowing one’s purpose and staying within the boundaries of work helping staff fulfill what matters. Never easy, the training will help solve boundary dilemmas, offering frameworks for choosing behavior that good for tenants and good for staff.

Patti Abelson, she/her, AVP QI and Training, The Bridge
Luis Fagundes, he/him, Inpatient Social Worker, The Bridge


SERIES C: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Innovations to Support Older Adults                                                               ASTOR BALLROOM, 7th Floor
While pretty much everyone needs extra assistance as they age, people who’ve experienced homelessness and cope with additional challenges often require specialized services. This panel will provide guidance on important programming for older adults, including will creation and addressing hoarding tendencies.

Yuliel Blanco, she/her, Helping Organize My Environment (HOME) Director, The Bridge
Michael Kronberg, he/him, Tenant, The Bridge
Mohini Mishra, she/her, Vice President Senior Communities SelfHelp
John Betts, he/him, Assistant Vice President for Program Development and Innovation, Breaking Ground

Moderator: Patricia Hernandez, she/her/ella, Director, Metro Region (NY, NJ, & PA), Corporation for Supportive Housing

Peers in the Workforce                                                                                       SOHO COMPLEX, 7th Floor
People with lived experience are not just enriching the workforces of supportive housing organizations by providing hard-won counsel, they are leading organizations. Hear from four experts on the value of hiring, promoting and being led by those with lived experience.

Mona Lisa McEachin, she/her, Assistant Program Director of Recovery Community & WNY Peer Workforce Development Center, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc.
Ronald Day, he/him, Vice President of Programs and Research, Fortune Society
Robert Palmer, he/him, Senior Peer Specialist, Project Renewal
Kimberly Wing, she/her, Chief Operating Officer, People USA

Jovanna Marc, she/her, Peer Wellness Coordinator, CASES
Laura Rhymer, she/her, Director, Howie The Harp, Community Access


What to Expect When You’re Preserving (Supportive Housing)                 EMPIRE COMPLEX, 7th Floor
The state’s Homes and Community Renewal is working hard to fulfill its promise to preserve 3000 units of supportive housing in the next few years and this panel will discuss what is involved, how to ‘bundle’ multiple residences and where to go for help. 

Katie Devine, she/her, Principal, Rockabill
Ross Karp, he/him, Downstate Development Director, New York State Homes and Community Renewal
Lauren LaMack
, she/her, Director of Housing Development, Services for the UnderServed
Lisa Silverstone, she/her, Executive Director, Safe Harbors of the Hudson

Moderator: Diane Louard-Michel, she/her, Executive Director, Lantern Community Services

Greeting the Whole Family: Safe Interaction with Tenants’ Dogs              MAJESTIC COMPLEX, 6th Floor
There’s no denying that dogs are family. Dog trainers Kizz and Julie will show us how they train dogs by understanding their triggers and using positive reinforcement. We will learn appropriate responses to common situations that can be challenging with dogs. These training methods are structured to be enjoyable for both dogs and humans, making learning and practice fun and easy.

Elizabeth H. "Kizz" Robinson, she/her, Founder, 2B Dog Training
Julie Wintrob, she/her, Pawsome Pupstars Dog Training

Introductory remarks: Eddie Martin, he/him, Tenant, The Lee, Breaking Ground

Preparing for Local Law 97                                                                                 SHUBERT COMPLEX, 6th Floor
Local Law 97, passed in 2019, requires most large buildings to comply with new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by the end of 2024. Join experts to learn about the various pathways to compliance and ensure that you have all the tools to meet these standards.

Amanda Clevinger, she/her, Policy and Programs Director, Bright Power
Anne Rahikainen, she/her
, Director, Energy Efficiency Resiliency & Sustainability, Services for the UnderServed
Rosibel Tavares, she/her, LEED Green Associate, Account Manager, NYC Accelerator

Moderator: Bomee Jung, she/her, Co-Founder and CEO, Cadence OneFive

ESSHI Halftime Pep Talk                                                                                          WILDER, 4th Floor
The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative is at the halfway mark: It is a great time to reflect. Over the past year the Network and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing have met regularly to do just that, developing joint recommendations that have been shared with the state. The panelists are members of our working group and will bring attendees up to date on the recommendations and progress to date, as well as discuss strategies for success in the second half.

Nicholas J. Coulter, he/him, Executive Vice President and Chief of Development and Community Engagement, Person Centered Housing Options
Gillian J. Conde, she/her, Vice-President, DePaul Properties
Bret Garwood, he/him, Chief Executive Officer, Home Leasing and Chair of Board, NYSAFAH
Stephen Piasecki, he/him, State Advocacy Manager, Supportive Housing Network of New York

Moderator: Karuna Mehta, she/her, Senior Community Investment Officer, NY Market Lead, CSH

Hearing Voices                                                                                                              ODETS, 4th Floor
Voice hearing (commonly called “auditory hallucinations”) is a common experience, and this experience is not limited to individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions. While some individuals find their voices comforting, some may find their voices distressing. This presentation will explore the varied experiences of people who hear voices, the prevalence and factors associated with hearing distressing voices, coping strategies, ways to connect with people who hear distressing voices, and the history of the Hearing Voices movement.

Justin Barron, Director of Community Engagement Services, Community Access
Murial King, she/they, Director of Training, Community Access
Khalena Pasha, she/her, Harm Reduction Specialist, Community Access                
Jonathan Payne, he/him, Supported Education Specialist, Blueprint, Community Access

Introducer: Morenike Williams, Chief People Officer, Community Access