Network News
April 20, 2011



New York Seal better


State budget activity



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New York City budget activity



NYC seal


NYC rally against budget cuts photos 





Federal budget activity   



etwork GSave the Date_2010 Gala_2 

Network annual supportive housing conference on June 9 



OMH logo


Supportive housing RFP updates



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Mathew Wambua named new HPD commissioner 



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Common Ground celebrates The Lee 





Supportive housing in the news



John Sullivan 2 

John Sullivan: Decades of dedication to supportive housing  





Odds and ends in supportive housing



American Institute of Architects


Common Ground building wins architecture award 

CityNew York State budget hits social services hard

New York Seal better

The New York State Legislature passed the 2011-12 state budget in the early hours of March 31, one day before for the April 1 deadline. The $132.5 billion budget closed a $10 billion deficit, cut state spending by $3.5 billion (2%) over last year and did not raise taxes. The legislature added $272 million in education and $91 million in human services restorations. The governor and the State Senate refused a proposal by the Assembly to extend the existing "Millionaires' Tax" surcharge for high income households, which would have reduced the need for program cuts by approximately $1 billion this year and an additional $5 billion next year.


The final budget agreement for human services included the following items: 

  • SRO Support Services -- SRO Support Services, along with three other homeless programs -- Homeless Intervention Program (HIP), Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) and Operating Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH) -- were flat-funded at FY2010-11 levels, and have been consolidated into a new homeless services funding "bucket" totaling $25.9 million. The funding will be administered by the Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (OTDA), which is expected to announce how these funds can be accessed in the next couple of months.
  • TANF Programs -- 15 TANF-funded programs were partially restored at $25 million. A number of legislative initiatives funded with federal TANF dollars had been zeroed out in the Executive's budget proposal, but were partly restored in the final budget agreement. Summer Youth Employment was restored in full to the 2010-11 funding level of $15 million; most other TANF programs were funded at approximately 20% of their FY 2010-11 levels (which were approximately half of the levels of the previous fiscal year), including:
    • Supported Housing for Families & Young Adults (SHFYA) -- SHFYA was restored at $508,000 (20% of FY 2010-11).
    • Supplemental Homeless Intervention Program (SHIP) -- SHIP was restored at $205,000 (20% of FY 2010-11).
  • The New York City Advantage Program -- The State discontinued its $85 million contribution to the Advantage rent subsidy program. However, it added a new, as-yet-unspecified homeless program in NYC funded at $15 million. Few details exist about this appropriation, though it appears to partially replace Advantage with a new program that will be developed jointly with the City and administered by OTDA.

Additionally, the budget included the following supportive housing-related items: 

  • Department of Health (DOH) AIDS Institute NY/NY III -- DOH AIDS Institute was funded at $6.8 million, reflecting the 21-Day amendment restoration of $2.9 million. Thanks to the Governor's restoration, this amount will fully fund New York/New York III AIDS housing for this year.  
  • Housing & Community Renewal (HCR)
    • Housing Trust Fund -- The Housing Trust Fund was funded at $32.2 million, an increase of $3.2 million from last year.
    • Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs -- The Executive's Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPC) and Rural Preservation Program (RPC) redesign proposal was rejected and restored in full to the 2010-11 funding level of $12 million (NPC -- $8,479,000; RPC -- $3,539,000).
    • The State's Low-Income Housing Credit was restored to the same level as last year: $4 million. 
    • Rural & Urban Initiatives were eliminated. Other HCR capital programs were maintained at their current levels.
  • OTDA
    • Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) -- The HHAP Capital program was funded at last year's level of $30 million, with continued program administration from OTDA.
  • Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Interagency Workgroup -- The Medicaid Redesign Team Proposal passed with most provisions intact, including the creation of a Supportive Housing Interagency Workgroup charged with  developing a proposal being referred to as "NY/NY IV" to create 5,000-10,000 supportive housing opportunities for persons at risk of nursing home placements. The MRT calls for the submission of a formal proposal by July 1st. 


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NYCNew York City budget advocacy update 

NYC sealAs the FY 2012 New York City budget process moves forward, the Network is concerned about a host of cuts to human services programs across city agencies that meet the basic needs of low-income New Yorkers: from geriatric mental health services, to adult and family shelters, to mental health and substance use outpatient treatment programs. Two supportive housing cuts in Mayor Bloomberg's Preliminary Budget will most directly impact supportive housing providers:

  • $1.4 million cut to onsite case management services in HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) supportive housing. This cut was made to the baseline budget in FY 2011 and therefore does not appear in the FY 2012, though it continues to exist in the out-years. The City Council restored funding to the program in FY 2011 and would have to do so again this year to preserve these essential services.
  • Elimination of the Advantage rental subsidy. While the Advantage subsidy has been eliminated for new tenants, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is under an injunction by the New York State Supreme Court  to continue paying the rental subsidy for existing tenants through April. The Legal Aid Society is continuing to press the City to continue paying existing Advantage subsidies in the months to come.

While we do not expect them, the potential also exists for additional supportive housing cuts in the Mayor's Executive Budget; the Office of Management and Budget has instructed city agencies to develop programs to eliminate gaps (PEGs) that will further reduce their budgets by 4%. 


To draw attention to these budget concerns, the Network participated in a rally for human services (coordinated by the Human Services Council and Annabel Palma and other City Council members) and testified before the General Welfare Committee on March 24.


Sean McCall, a tenant from Project Renewal's Geffner House (formerly Holland House), brought the crowd of over 100 people and nearly a dozen city elected officials to cheers with a stirring speech on the importance of onsite case management services. Those services, he said helped him maintain sobriety, achieve housing stability and pursue his life goals.   


Sean at 2011 rally

 Sean McCall of Geffner House, flanked by Councilman Stephen Levin, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and HSC Executive Director Michael Stoller, praises his case manager at a New York City Hall rally on March 24.


Later that evening, City Council members questioned Commissioners Seth Diamond, Robert Doar and John Mattingly on the preliminary budgets for their respective agencies. Nick Napolitano of the Network also testified before General Welfare Committee Chair Palma and staff on the impact of onsite case managers for the lives of formerly homeless HASA tenants. The Network's written testimony included powerful stories of the lives transformed at Bowery Residents Committee, Comunilife, Center for Urban Community Services, Harlem United, Housing & Services, Pratt Area Community Council, Project Renewal and Volunteers of America. City Council members understand the importance of both onsite case management and HASA city workers; they demonstrated their commitment to maintaining these service levels in writing with their response to the Mayor's FY 2012 Preliminary Budget.


Mayor Bloomberg will release his FY 2012 Executive Budget on May 5. Historically, New York City mayors make few changes between preliminary and executive budgets. The Network, however, will closely examine both documents for additional cuts and restorations made by the mayor.


Regarding Advantage rental subsidies, the New York State Supreme Court has scheduled an April 21 hearing on the Legal Aid lawsuit against DHS to maintain rental subsidies for households with current Advantage contracts. The Network will know more about the future of Advantage rental subsidies after this hearing and send out pertinent information to members.


If supportive housing providers wish to get involved with the Network's city budget advocacy efforts, please email or call (646-619-9640 x646) Nick Napolitano.



PicturesAdditional photos from March 24 New York City Hall rally

The following photos were taken during a rally against budget cuts at New York City Hall on March 24.


Councilman talks

New York City Council Member Stephen Levin addresses rally participants.


girl with sign at rally

woman with sign at rally



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Federal2011 federal budget protects some housing programs, cuts others


After a protracted budget battle, Congress reached a deal on the 2011 federal budget on Friday, April 8. The agreed upon budget covers the current fiscal year (October 1, 2010 -- September 30, 2011). The final budget includes $38 billion in cuts, most of which are for programs that serve low-income households, including key affordable housing programs. Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were particularly hard hit, though some HUD programs received increases. Changes to programs important to supportive housing included:

  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance was funded at $1.9 billion, a $40 million or 2% increase over FY 2010 levels, one of the rare funding streams that was not cut. McKinney-Vento was increased to fund Emergency Solutions Grants for homeless prevention and rapid re-housing activities, in an effort to make up in small part the end of HPRP funding allocated by the 2009 federal stimulus bill. Existing McKinney-Vento programs should be covered in full, but it is unlikely that there will be any new funds available for the 2011 competition.   
  • Tenant-Based Section 8 and Project Based Vouchers were fully funded to support all existing rental subsidies. This included 12.6% and 8.5% increases, respectively, to meet the 2011 Fair Market Rent levels.
  • HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program) program received an increase of $50 million to fund 7,690 new vouchers for homeless veterans. Prior budget bills included $75 million for 10,000 new vouchers.
  • Section 811, supportive housing for people with disabilities, and Section 202, affordable and supportive housing for seniors, were both cut by 50% ($115 million and $425 million respectively). Because most of this funding is for capital development, the cuts should not affect operating funds for programs in development. However no funds will be available for capital development of new units (note: the recent Request for Proposals will proceed, as it is funded with last year's funding allocation).
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program was flat funded at the 2010 level, $335 million.
  • The HOME program was cut by 12%. The majority of HOME funding in New York goes to building supportive housing. This cut will have a direct impact on New York State and New York City's ability to develop their supportive housing pipeline.
  • The Community Development Fund (primarily CDBG) was cut by 21%, from $4.45 billion to $3.5 billion. These grants are awarded by formula to localities and are a major source of administrative funding for housing agencies, including funds for housing inspectors and other essential affordable housing activities.
  • The new Housing and Services Demonstration Project was eliminated from the budget. This program would have streamlined rental assistance for supportive housing, preparing localities for providing expanded housing-based services under health care reform. 

For more information, please email or call (518-465-3233) Steve Piasecki or see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' table on housing and community development funding.  



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ConferenceJoin us Thursday, June 9 for the 11th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference  

2011 conference image

Join us for the 11th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Conference on Thursday, June 9! The day's events will run from 8:00am to 6:30pm at the New York Marriott Marquis, located at 1535 Broadway in the heart of Manhattan.

The conference will offer more than 20 cutting-edge workshops and panels addressing the latest challenges and opportunities facing the supportive housing community. This year's conference will feature panels on the intersection between housing and health care, the latest in supportive housing development and financing, as well as four green workshops looking at the green movement's progress so far, horticultural therapy and tracking energy efficiency measures. At least eight state and city commissioners will be joining us for this year's event, as well as federal officials. Experts from around the country will present hands-on workshops on how best to serve specific populations including veterans, LGBQT youth, and families and youth involved with child welfare.

Network members and non-members alike can now REGISTER ONLINE for the conference. To register by fax, download and complete this form. For more information, email or call (646-619-9640 x 645) Emily Rubin.

We look forward to seeing you there! 



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RFPSupportive housing RFP updates

OMH logoThe New York State Office of Mental Health has released two Request for Proposals (RFPs) to develop Supported Housing for adults with serious mental illness who are long-term stayers in OMH psychiatric centers or transitional housing programs.

The first RFP would develop 303 units of Supported Housing for New York City residents; the second RFP would create 50 units for Nassau and Suffolk County residents. Current OMH Supported Housing rates in NYC and Long Island are $14,493 per unit.

Visit the Network's website to learn more about the specific deadlines associated with these RFPs.


OTDAThe New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) has announced it will continue to accept RFPs for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP). The news comes as a result of the State Budget passing with an appropriation of $30 million in HHAP funding. Projects that have not already submitted an application may do so until further notice.



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HPDMathew Wambua named new HPD commissioner

Mathew Wambua

Mathew Wambau has been appointed Commissioner of New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). He succeeds Rafael Cestero, who stepped down April 1 to begin work at L+M Development Partners.

Wambau has served in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration since 2002.

 Photo: New York Daily News


The appointment was cheered by the entire New York affordable housing community.  


"Mat Wambua is a dyed-in-the-wool wonk," says Bill Traylor, Chairman of the Network's Board of Directors. "At least one definition I know portrays the wonk as an expert in a particular field who is especially passionate and energetic about his subject and very intelligent. That describes Mat to a tee. He's a housing wonk through and through. We could have no better partner at the helm of this country's premier housing agency, especially during these turbulent times."

Commissioner Wambau began as a senior policy advisor for the Mayor's Office, overseeing a portfolio of agencies for the deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding, including HPD and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). In 2008, he became the executive vice president of real estate and external relations at HDC. He managed a number of departments, including Real Estate Lending and Development, and oversaw the financing of over 36,000 units of affordable housing. As HPD Commissioner, he now chairs HDC's Board of Directors.

Commissioner Cestero leaves the new Commissioner a high-functioning agency well-situated to face today's challenges. We wish him great success in his new position at L+M Development Partners. The Network looks forward to working with Commissioner Wambua in the coming years to expand the stock of supportive housing essential to house and serve New York City's most vulnerable residents. 



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LeeCommon Ground celebrates The Lee

The LeeCommon Ground held a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony on April 7 for its newest supportive housing residence -- The Lee. The building, located at the corner of East Houston and Pitt Streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, has 263 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless and low-income adults, youth aging out of foster care and other people with special needs. The residence first opened its doors in November 2010.

The Lee ranks as Common Ground's third-largest building, and the greenest. The residence won the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's 2005 Green Building Design Competition and has been designated the city's first LEED Silver supportive housing residence. The building's on-site social services are provided by Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) for adults, and by The Door for youths.

"This is our fifth building in Manhattan, and it adds considerably to our portfolio of affordable and supportive housing," said Brenda Rosen, Common Ground's acting executive director. "Like all of our housing, it will act as a catalyst for community revitalization while also supporting our mission to end homelessness."

The event featured over a dozen speakers, a reception and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Among those to speak were Rosen, Common Ground founder Rosanne Haggerty, New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond and Larson Family Foundation President Lee Larson, for whom the building was named.


In her remarks, Larson recalled having never heard of supportive housing or Common Ground until the 1990s, when she spotted Haggerty's name in the New York Times. She arranged to meet with Haggerty the following week. Struck by supportive housing's effectiveness as a model to end homelessness, Larson began working with Common Ground to fund new projects. In 2009, Common Ground named its then-newest supportive housing residence, The Christopher, after Larson's late son.


Rounding out the ceremony's speakers were Peter and Dana Larson of the Larson Family Foundation, New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) First Deputy Commissioner Doug Apple, New York City Housing Development Corporation Senior Vice President Joan Tally, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York CEO Alfred DelliBovi, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin, CUCS Executive Director Tony Hannigan and The Door CEO Michael H. Zisser.


HPD provided $24.6 million in financing and HDC awarded $31 million in tax-exempt bond financing during the construction period. J P Morgan Chase Bank and the Low Income Investment Fund provided acquisition financing. Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investments provided tax credit equity of $22 million. The New York Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) provided capital financing of $6.5 million. Other capital sources included the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Larson Family Foundation, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), HSBC Bank and deferred developer's fee. Kiss + Cathcart served as the architects and West Manor Construction Corporation served as the general contractor on The Lee. 


Congratulations to Common Ground, The Door, CUCS and everyone else who's helped bring The Lee to life! 



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NewsSupportive housing in the news
newspaperThree news outlets ran stories on Grandparent Family Apartments in the Bronx. 60 Minutes aired a segment on a teen gospel choir in which two residents sing while both CBS News and the New York Daily News ran aired a profiles on the residence and its recent budget cuts. Grandparent Family Apartments lost funding for its after-school program and on-site security as a result of cuts to the Supported Housing for Family and Young Adults (SHFYA) program.
The New York Times ran a major piece on the Fortune Society's Castle Gardens residence on April 1. The article focused on the building's superintendent, Chris Carney.  
The New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal and New York 1 all ran stories on increased homelessness rates in New York City. The pieces emphasized statistics from a recent report from the Coalition for the Homeless. You can read the full report here.
The Troy Record ran a story on the grand opening of the Hill Street Inn, a supportive housing residence operated by Joseph's House & Shelter in Troy. The article appeared on March 11.
A tenant at Odyssey House's Lafayette Avenue Teen Girls Program was featured in a WABC-7 story on solutions to prescription drug abuse on March 29. 



SullivanJohn Sullivan: Decades of dedication to supportive housing 

John SullivanAfter devoting decades of his life to New York City's most vulnerable residents, John Sullivan died of esophageal cancer on Tuesday, April 5. He was 48 years old.

John entered the world of New York supportive housing as a social worker at Pathways to Housing. From there, he became the executive director of Friends House, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In his last years, he worked as the director of case management at Gallant and Associates. John was married to Mary Brosnahan, the executive director of Coalition for the Homeless. We would like to express our deepest sympathies for John's friends, colleagues and family. His
passing is a tremendous loss to the supportive housing community.

To learn more about the lives John touched, you can read an obituary and loving profile recently published in the New York Times.

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OddsOdds and ends in supportive housing
EnterpriseEnterprise will hold two online Q&A sessions to discuss the application process for the 2011 MetLife Foundation Awards. The 90-minute conferences will take place on April 26 and May 20. This year's awards will focus on excellence in green practices. For a rundown of 2010's winners, visit here. The MetLife program has awarded over $1.7 million to 89 housing properties since 1996.
Small SHNNY LogoNew York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez joined the Network's Nick Napolitano and Housing & Services staff on March 25 for a site visit of the Kenmore Hotel. Councilwoman Mendez met with several tenants and hopes she can return to join Kenmore tenant Richard Calabrese to prepare and serve breakfast to building residents. As a reminder, Network staff members are happy to attend residence tours to offer information on supportive housing funding, policy and other issues. To learn more, email Nick Napolitano.
FacebookThe Network is now on Facebook! Please visit our new profile to "Like" us. Our Facebook followers can expect a steady stream of breaking news, event photos and other updates in the world of supportive housing.

AwardCommon Ground building wins architecture award


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has honored Common Ground's The Schermerhorn with a 2011 Housing Award. The building's architects, Ennead Architects LLP, accepted the award last month. The Schermerhorn was one of 18 buildings nationwide to receive the honor. It won in the Specialized Housing category, alongside residences in San Antonio and Boston; it was the only New York building to receive an AIA Housing Award in 2011.

"[The Schermerhorn] rises above the aesthetic previously associated with affordable housing," the AIA jury wrote. "This is architecture in which anyone would feel at home."

Opened in 2009, this Brooklyn building features 217 units of low-income and supportive housing. The residence houses an array of New Yorkers: those with HIV/AIDS, those transitioning out of homelessness, those with mental illness and low-income members of the community, with preference given to people in the performing arts and entertainment industries. Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) and The Actors Fund provide on-site support services for the building's tenants.


"Recognition for The Schermerhorn celebrates the important work that Common Ground is doing to address homelessness in New York City," said Susan Rodriguez, the building's designer.


The Network congratulates Ennead Architects and Common Ground on receiving this honor. To see the complete list of winners, visit here



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