The Network and its members advocate to preserve and increase capital funding, as well as operating and service funding for supportive housing. The Network also champions policies that make development and operation of supportive housing easier and more effective.
NYS 2023 Advocacy and Policy Priorities
The Network is advocating for the following for inclusion in the final state budget:
INCREASE NYS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAM (NYSSHP) RATES - $148M
NYSSHP – a program begun in the 1980s – provides just $2,580 per year for individuals; for families, $3,480. By contrast ESSHI is crafted to provide $12,500 for services. Nearly 20,000 formerly homeless households are served under NYSSHP, half of whom are solely dependent on it for services funding: NYSSHP should be increased to the same level as ESSHI.
CREATE A FLEXIBLE PRESERVATION FUND – $50 MILLION
Last year’s budget provided funding to preserve and modernize 3,000 units of supportive housing over five years. However, these monies cannot be used because the buildings that need preserving also struggle with decades-old services and operating contracts, which make them too risky for investment. The state needs to create a flexible fund to bring the service and operating budgets of residences scheduled for preservation up to modern levels.
INCREASE ESSHI FUNDING TO $35K- $14 MILLION
Sharp increases in the costs of land, labor and materials, combined with higher interest rates, have eaten away at the seven-year-old $25,000/unit Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) rate. The state needs to increase the per unit ESSHI rate to $35,000.
PROVIDE STATE-FUNDED HUMAN SERVICES WORKERS WITH AN 8.5% COLA
Essential human service workers are still vastly underpaid, resulting in huge staffing shortages. The state needs to provide them with an 8.5% COLA to begin to address the gap and keep up with inflation. Meanwhile, the state needs to ensure that workers under OTDA NYSSHP contracts are included by changing the COLA statute language.
Creation and preservation of 10,000 units of supportive housing – 7,000 new/3,000 preserved -- over the next five years as part of the State’s proposed new 5 year Affordable Housing Plan.
5.4 percent, across-the-board COLA The COLA applies to OMH, OASAS, OCFS, OTDA, OPWDD and SOFA voluntary operated programs but unfortunately, doesn’t include the OTDA NYS Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP). .
Increased Funding for Existing Office of Mental Health Housing Programs. The Executive Budget makes a two-year commitment of an additional $104 million - $65 million in FY 2023 and $39 million in FY 2024 – for existing community-based residential programs across NYS including contracts administered by DOHMH in NYC. The Governor’s budget is also proposingextending property pass-through provisions to OMH’s unlicensed residential programs – including scattered site programs – to offset rising property costs.
The Network was also instrumental in winning a commitment from the state in 2016 to create 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years: the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, the first long-term commitment to supportive housing outside NYC in history. We are working with our community to ensure the Initiative’s implementation. (For funding opportunities, please search "ESSHI" in our Funding Guide.)
Our policy priorities are driven by our members. Reach out to us!
Below is a short video from the Network's State Advocacy Director Maclain Berhaupt and Upstate Coordinator Stephen Piasecki talking about the organization's 2002 decision to take its operations statewide and serve and advocate for supportive housing across all of New York.
"The Network Goes Statewide"