NYS Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI)

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Status: Closed


Operating, Services



Procurement Agency



NYS ESSHI program provides service and operating funding for congregate supportive housing across the State.

Tenant Eligibility Criteria

The eligible target populations to be served under this program are families or individuals 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: 

Homeless definition 

 In order to be considered homeless for the purposes of this RFP, an individual must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. be an 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 young adults, survivors of domestic violence, and individuals with I/DD who are at risk of homelessness;
  2. be 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. be 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. be a young adult between the ages of 18 and 25 years of age 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 nonprofit organizations with experience in providing housing services to individuals, families and/or youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness.


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.


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: 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 24 months from the date of the conditional ESSHI award. However, the ESSHI Inter-agency Working Group also has the option to provide extensions beyond 12 months.

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.

Living Situations at Time of Referral: Acceptable living situations at time of referral include unsheltered homeless; sheltered homeless; prison; institutions (State Psychiatric Center or Developmental Center); hospital or nursing home; medical respite; and OPWDD-eligible individuals who have been determined to meet the level of emergency need through the Certified Residential Opportunities review process.

Projects Involving Capital Funding from New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD): Applicants that intend to apply to HPD for capital financing following receipt of a conditional ESSHI award must clearly specify the intended referral source in the ESSHI application. Prior to obtaining a committed ESSHI award, conditional awardees utilizing capital funding from HPD may be required to obtain written confirmation (e.g., soft commitment letter) from each agency administering the capital funding source applicable to the project that acknowledges and specifies the referral source(s) for the project.

Additional Notes

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

Applications where greater than 50% of the ESSHI units are dedicated to chronically homeless persons, families, individuals and/or young adults that have mental health and/or substance use disorders, and victims/survivors of domestic violence will be eligible to receive more points.

In year 5, eligible populations were grouped into the following. These are not listed in the Year 6 RFP.

Category One - (Chronic homelessness, SMI, SUD) - a minimum of 50% of the number of awards that will be issued pursuant to this RFP will be allocated to Category One;
Category Two - (Reentry, HIV, Youth/ Young Adult) - no more than 25% will be allocated to Category Two;
Category Three - (DV, Military Service, Frail Elderly/ Seniors, I/DD) - and no more than 25% will be allocated to Category Three.

Important Dates

RFP Release Date: 8/2/2021 
Webinar: 8/16/2021
Questions Due: 8/23/2021 by 2 p.m.  
Questions Posted on Website: 9/9/2021  
Proposals Due: 10/6/2021 by 2 p.m.  
Conditional Award Notifications: 12/9/2021  
Contract Start Date: TBD  

For More Information

To view the most recent RFP, click here. The entire ESSHI application should be submitted in Grants Gateway. Applications submitted outside of the Grants Gateway system may not be reviewed. 


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: 09/13/2022

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