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Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI)




Operating, Services



Procurement Agency


Total Annual Award

Funding for at least 1,200 qualifying individuals will be awarded through this third-round RFP. New York State will award up to $25,000 in services and operating funds for each qualifying individual annually. 

Tenant Eligibility Criteria

The eligible target populations to be served under this program are families with a qualifying individual, individuals and/or young adults who are both homeless (see below for definition) and who are identified as having an unmet housing need as determined by the CoC or local planning entity or through other supplemental local, state and federal data, AND have one or more disabling conditions or other life challenges, including: 

  • Serious mental illness (SMI);
  • Substance use disorder (SUD);
  • Persons living with HIV or AIDS; 
  • Victims/Survivors of domestic violence; 
  • Military service with disabilities (including veterans with other than honorable discharge);
  • Chronic homelessness as defined by HUD (including families, and individuals experiencing street homelessness or long-term shelter stays);
  • Youth/Young adults who left foster care within the prior five years and who were in foster care at or over age 16;
  • Homeless young adults between 18 and 25 years old;
  • Adults, youth or young adults reentering the community from incarceration or juvenile justice placement, particularly those with disabling conditions;
  • Frail Elderly/Senior: Any person who is age 55 and older, who is enrolled in Medicaid, and requires assistance with one or more activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living. Eligible persons are referred from a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), or identified as homeless by a Health Home, hospital, Managed Care Organization (MCO), medical respite, Managed Long-Term Care (MLTC), Performing Provider System (PPS), or shelter; and 
  • Individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD)

Homeless definition 

In order to be considered homeless an individual must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Un-domiciled person (whether alone or as a member of a family) who is unable to secure permanent and stable housing without special assistance. This includes those who are inappropriately housed in an institutional facility and can safely live in the community and those who are at risk of homelessness;
  2. A youth or young adult who left foster care within the prior five years and who was in foster care at or over age 16, and who is without permanent and stable housing;
  3. An adult or young adult reentering the community from incarceration or juvenile justice placement, who was released or discharged, and who is without permanent and stable housing; or
  4. A young adult between the ages of 18 and 25 without a permanent residence, including those aging out of a residential school for individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Eligible Applicants

This funding opportunity is only open to not for-profit organizations that are properly incorporated or organized under the laws of New York with experience in providing services and housing to individuals, families and/or youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Funding Award Details

Applications for the third annual RFP were due June 19th, 2018 at 2:00 PM. It is expected 1,200 units will be awarded this year at up to $25,000 in services and operating funding per qualifying individual per year.

The fourth round is expected to follow a similar schedule.

NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) will be the lead agency, but other State agencies may administer contracts for other populations not governed by OMH. The direct oversight contracting agency could be any of the following, depending on the population served – OMH, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), or Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Amount Details

Up to $25,000 in services and operating funding is available annually for each qualifying individual. The State anticipates providing an inflationary adjustment in subsequent years, subject to available appropriations for and/or statutory authorization of such increases.


The term of the contract will be five years. ESSHI contracts are renewable for five-year terms, subject to the availability of State funding, once awarded.

Network Notes

Time Frame for Securing Capital Financing

One objective of this RFP is to link capital projects to develop supportive housing with the Services and Operating [RS1] funding of this RFP. Therefore, it is expected that applicants secure capital funding for the housing project for which they are requesting service and operating funding through this RFP within 12 months from the date of the service and operating funding award. If, after 12 months, the applicant has not successfully secured commitments for the capital financing necessary for the project, the interagency workgroup has the option to rescind the Services and Operating award. However, the Workgroup also has the option to provide extensions beyond 12 months from the date of the conditional service and operating funding award

Section 8 Limitations: Outside New York City, housing developers with a commitment of an ESSHI award cannot access Project-Based Section 8. In New York City, Section 8 can be used, but ESSHI grants are expected to be reduced to pay for services only if Section 8 is used.

Changes to the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Requirements for ESSHI

MRT qualifications have changed for the 2018 RFP.  MRT is no longer a separate potential target population but rather a new requirement for projects that have more than 30 total units with 15 ESSHI units. 

Projects of 15 or more ESSHI qualifying individuals, with 30 or more dwelling units in total, serving the applicable populations listed below will be required to set aside 25 percent of designated ESSHI units for high-cost, high-need Medicaid users (MRT eligible individuals). MRT eligible individuals includes those who are both homeless and have one or more of the following disabling conditions or life challenges (as well as meet the definition below): 

  • SMI;
  • SUD;
  • HIV/AIDS; 
  • Chronic homelessness;
  • Frail Elderly/Seniors (See "Eligible Populations" above for definition)
  • I/DD

MRT Definition: Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Eligible Individuals are individuals enrolled in Medicaid, or have used Medicaid in the last 12 months and are Medicaid eligible, and meet one of the following in the past 12 months: 

  • Eligible for or enrolled in a Health Home; 
  • State hospital, and/or state/voluntary Community Residence (CR), and/or Community Residence-Single Room Occupancy (CR-SRO) resident or 
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) resident; 

  • Enrolled in Health and Recovery Plan (HARP for behavioral health) or Special Needs Plan (HIV/AIDS); 

  • Qualify as a high Medicaid utilizer by meeting one of the following: 

    1. Have two or more inpatient stays,

    2. Have five or more emergency department visits, or 

    3. Have four or more emergency department visits, and one or more inpatient stay; 

  • Qualify as a high Medicaid utilizer by being within the top 20% of Medicaid recipients’ spending relative to the county of fiscal responsibility and target population parameters (e.g., an SMI recipient in Westchester would have to have base period spending in excess of 80% of the SMI Medicaid population in that county.)

Changes to the Frail Elderly Definition

Frail Elderly/Senior- Any person who is age 55 and older, who is enrolled in Medicaid, and requires assistance with one or more actives of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living.  Eligible persons are referred from a Skilled Nursing Facility, or identified as homeless by a health home, hospital, managed care organization, medical respite, managed long term care, performing provider system or shelter.

Olmstead Requirements

Integrated settings are required for any homeless population that falls under the ADA including SMI, SUD, I/DD or persons living with HIV/AIDS.  Generally, mixed use projects that integrate affordable housing with supportive housing are considered integrated, provided that no more than 50% of the total units are reserved for individuals with disabilities (60% in NYC). For projects assigned to OASAS, projects that have 30 or less dwelling units do not need to comply with the above stated Olmstead requirements.

Additional Notes

ESSHI funded projects will be prioritized for capital funding through HCR’s SHOP program and OTDA’s HHAP capital program.

The entire ESSHI application should be submitted in Grants Gateway. Applications submitted outside of the Grants Gateway system may not be reviewed. 

For More Information

To view the most recent RFP, click here

To view the June 2018 Q and A, click here.

Questions may be submitted via mail or email to: 

Carol Swiderski
Contract Management Specialist 2
ESSHI Questions
NYS Office of Mental Health
Contract and Claim Unit
44 Holland Ave, 7th floor
Albany, NY 12229

Last updated: 10/09/2018

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