Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sept. 1 the release of two requests for proposals for programs that build and support homeless housing across the state. Combined, the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) and the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) make available $158 million for projects that will house New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and provide supportive services aimed at addressing the root causes of housing instability.
“For many who experience homelessness, housing insecurity is only a symptom of an even greater underlying problem,”Cuomo said in a statement. “Projects that address both the shelter and support needs of those experiencing homelessness are at the vanguard of our efforts to ensure all New Yorkers have a safe, stable place to live. These programs represent a crucial investment in our communities and to ensuring the most vulnerable among us aren’t left to languish on the streets.”
HHAP is providing up to $128 million in capital funding for projects that propose to build supportive housing units or to repair emergency shelters -an amount that is double the prior year’s allocation. In addition, the ESSHI is accepting proposals for up to $30 million for the ongoing services and operation of supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and with special needs, conditions, or other life challenges.
Within the five-year, $20 billion housing plan, the 2021 state budget increased the available funding for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program from $64 million to $128 million. This funding includes $5 million earmarked for supportive housing for homeless veterans; $5 million for supportive housing for individuals with AIDS who are experiencing homelessness; and $1 million for necessary repairs to emergency shelters.
The HHAP provides capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, and municipalities to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate housing for persons who are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance. The grants are awarded through a competitive process by the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, a public benefit corporation staffed by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
Through this program, New York State has appropriated more than $1.2 billion toward the development of supportive housing. In total, the program has created more than 22,000 units of housing to support individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Established in 2016 and administered by the state Office of Mental Health, the ESSHI is a five-year program designed to fund the service and operating costs of at least 6,000 units of permanent supportive housing for at-risk populations. The initiative is aimed at better coordinating resources from multiple-state agencies, thereby allowing more dynamic programming and quicker implementation.
Photo: A homeless man down and out in New York City.