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January 9, 2012



Updates from the Network's State-level advocacystate
The Network spent much of the holiday season working on Medicaid redesign recommendations and on early State budget advocacy.

On December 13, the State's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) voted to approve a list of recommendations from the MRT's Affordable Housing Workgroup. The Workgroup included representatives from the Network and several of its members, including Harlem United, Housing Works, Center for Urban Community Services, Catholic Charities of Albany and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

Among the list of recommendations, the Workgroup's report calls for the development of a "NY/NY IV" agreement to create thousands of new supportive housing units targeting high-cost, high-need Medicaid users across the state.

"When put into place, these actions will yield substantial taxpayer savings, while improving the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers with behavioral health issues and chronic conditions," said Network Executive Director Ted Houghton.

To learn more about the MRT and the intersection of Medicaid and supportive housing, visit the new Medicaid Redesign page on the Network's website.

The Network also testified during State Senate and Assembly committee hearings. On December 13, the Network testified before the Assembly Committee on Housing about the cost-saving and job-generating benefits of increased supportive housing production. The next day, the Network attended a roundtable discussion between the Senate Joint Committees on Social Services and Children & Families to press for full funding for supportive housing services. The Network is asking the State to fully fund the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's (OTDA) NYS Supportive Housing Program at $28 million.

To read these and other testimonies, visit the State testimony page of the Network's website.

Lastly, the Network attended Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2012 State of the State address in Albany on January 4. During his address, the Governor listed some of his many accomplishments from the past 12 months, including the closing of 3,800 prison beds. He also highlighted the accomplishments of the Regional Economic Development Councils and promised a second round of funding for them in 2012. He stressed the State's commitment to diversity and made a commitment to implement the Olmstead decision, which requires moving people with disabilities out of institutions and into the least restrictive setting possible -- often, community-based affordable housing.

"We must develop a system that recognizes the potential of and the barriers faced by each individual we serve," Governor Cuomo said. "We must focus on quality and prevention, and simplify and streamline access to services."

The Network looks forward to working with the Governor to help make supportive housing an integral part of this community-based solution.

Network analyzes NY/NY III six years in NYNYIII
Six years into New York/New York III, the 10-year, City-State initiative to create 9,000 new supportive housing units in New York City, the agencies involved have awarded 75 percent of the total units and opened 45 percent.

NY/NY III sought to create housing for nine different vulnerable populations, both scattered-site rental apartments and new construction. All 2,750 scattered-site apartments have been awarded and are up and running throughout the five boroughs. Of the 6,250 new construction or congregate units in the initiative, 63 percent have been awarded, 20 percent are open and another 17 percent -- or 1,100 -- are in construction.

Visit the Network's website for a complete list of all units available in each category.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is procuring the majority of the City's share of the units. Most of the populations they are responsible for have been fully awarded; the remaining units are for families and individuals with mental illness. DOHMH employed a rolling Request for Proposals (RFP) so that providers could apply for funding on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the RFP remains open for providers interested in building supportive housing for these two populations. 

The Network will publish a full progress report on the NY/NY III Agreement on its website later this month. For questions, email Network Policy Director Nicole Branca.

HUD finds 12 percent drop in veteran homelessnesshud
HUD seal betterHomelessness among America's veterans dropped 12 percent in 2011, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Released last month, HUD's Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) found 67,495 homeless veterans on a single night in January 2011. In comparison, the AHAR found 76,329 homeless vets in January 2010.

The report also noted a 2.1 percent drop in overall homelessness from 2010.

The AHAR found that, on a single night in January 2011, five states (California, New York, Florida, Texas and Georgia) accounted for half of the nation's total homeless population. HUD estimates there were 636,017 homeless individuals across the country. On that night, New York had the second-highest homeless population, representing 10 percent of the country's total.

Nationally, about 14 percent of all homeless individuals included in the survey were veterans.

HUD also found a continuing rise of formerly homeless individuals living in permanent supportive housing. On a single night in January 2011, more than 694,000 individuals were in emergency shelter, transitional and permanent "beds." More than 250,000 of those people were living in supportive housing.

To read the full AHAR, visit HUD's website.

State awards $5.4 million in HHAP housing grantshhap
On December 21, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) awarded $5.4 million in housing grants through its Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP).

The awards went to three supportive housing organizations in Rochester and Monroe County. Providence Housing Development Corporation will use its grant to help construct Son House Apartments, a 21-unit supportive housing residence in Rochester. YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County, another grant awardee, will utilize the money to develop 14 housing units by renovating vacant spaces within an existing 96-unit building in Rochester. Lastly, United Veterans Beacon House will use its award to create 12 units of congregate housing in Huntington.

Congratulations to all grant recipients!

Fifth Avenue Committee wins developer of the year honorfifth
Last month, the New York Housing Conference (NYHC) and the National Housing Conference (NHC) honored Fifth Avenue Committee as its 2011 Nonprofit Developer of the Year. Fifth Avenue Committee received the award during the 38th Annual Awards Program, held on December 8 at the Hilton New York in New York City.

"It's particularly wonderful that we're receiving the award this year," said Fifth Avenue Committee Executive Director Michelle de la Uz. "We've existed for 33 years and have built over 800 units of housing, but in the last 18 months we've actually completed 300 of those units."

As it's done for decades, the ceremony highlighted exemplary organizations and individuals in the world of New York affordable housing. Along with the Fifth Avenue Committee, the event also honored Nixon Peabody Partner John L. Kelly with the Clara Fox Award for Outstanding Achievement, The Hudson Companies as Private Developer of the Year and U.S. Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell with the Public Service Award.

Congratulations to NYHC and NHC on another great conference, and a special congrats to Fifth Avenue Committee for an award well earned.

Green Housing Initiative upcoming workshopsgreen
Green logoOn Wednesday January 11, the Managing Lean and Green series will present a workshop on the environmental and community benefits of street trees and landscaping, particularly as they relate to Enterprise Green Community criteria. Managing Lean and Green will continue in February with a four-part series on behavior, buildings and neighborhoods. The series will explore ways in which we can effect changes that both enhance the quality of life and save money. Lastly, on February 10, the Network is excited to collaborate with the Horticultural Society of New York and Praxis Housing Initiatives to present a forum on Horticultural Therapy, organized specifically for supportive housing providers.

Visit the Network's website to learn how you can attend these upcoming events from the Green Housing Initiative.

Odds and ends in New York supportive housingodds
On January 6, The Bridge held a groundbreaking ceremony for its newest supportive housing building, Bridge Gardens Veterans Residence. The building will feature 17 units of supportive housing for veterans struggling with chronic homelessness and mental illness.

The groundbreaking celebration included a number of guests from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Among them were U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Adolfo Carri´┐Żn, Bridge Executive Director Dr. Peter Beitchman, Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation President Scott M. Edwards.

"We look forward to providing a home for men and women who have served their country so honorably and for whom housing and services can assist them in achieving a better life in the community," Dr. Beitchman said.

The Bridge hopes to complete construction on the project in early 2013.

(NAMI-NYS) has bestowed its first Visionary Award to Concern for Independent Living. Designed to highlight the work of innovators in the mental health field, the honor was presented to Concern for its ongoing efforts to provide supportive housing for people with mental illness.  

"We are very honored to be recognized by NAMI with this special award," said Concern Executive Director Ralph Fasano. "We only hope that through our joint advocacy efforts, we can get to a point where developing good supportive housing is not seen as visionary but just common sense."

The award was first announced at NAMI-NYS' educational conference in November. Congratulations to Concern on this honor!

Comings and goings in New York supportive housingcomings
handshakeAfter seven years at the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), Deputy Commissioner George Nashak is leaving his role overseeing the city's homeless shelters, services and supportive housing for single adults to become the Executive Vice President of HELP USA. Since 2004, Deputy Commissioner Nashak has helped New York City become a national leader in prioritizing chronically homeless individuals for permanent housing. He helped lead the successful redesign of street outreach and helped secure the historic 9,000-unit New York/New York III Supportive Housing Agreement. Throughout, George has been a reliable partner to providers, a creative stretcher of shrinking resources and a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. We congratulate Deputy Commissioner Nashak on his new position and look forward to working with him at HELP USA.
In other HELP USA news, Tom Hameline moved up from his position of Chief Development Officer to become President of the prominent multi-service agency in December. He fills the shoes of Laurence Belinksy, who resigned as CEO and President of HELP in September to become a private housing developer. We wish CEO and President Hameline all the best in his new role.

Mark Wickham has taken over as the new President and CEO of Catholic Family Center, a division of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester. Mr. Wickham leaves Lakeview Mental Hospital, Inc., where he's served as CEO since 2002. He replaces Carolyn Portanova, who worked at Catholic Family Center for 37 years.  

Connie Sanderson has begun work as the new Continuum of Care Program Coordinator at the Homeless Alliance of Western New York in Buffalo. Ms. Sanderson is the former Chair of the Homeless Services Network and former Assistant Director of Sojourner House.

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