Rep. Paul Tonko, Housing Providers, and Mental Health Advocates Press for Federal Aid to States
Congressman Paul Tonko joined housing and healthcare advocates for a virtual press conference on August 6th calling on Congress to immediately fund aid to states as part of the next stimulus bill. Lack of federal funding has led New York State to reduce funding for mental health housing programs by 20%. If New York State does not receive federal relief, 40,000 mental health housing units are at risk.

The Network Participates in NLIHC's Virtual Lobby Day
The Network facilitated a number of meetings between supportive housing providers and congressional representatives to advocate for funding increases as part of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s Virtual Lobby Week at the end of July. Network members from across New York State met with their members of congress and congressional staff to illustrate the dire need for emergency rental assistance and aid to states and localities.

Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) Extension
The New York State Office of Mental Health announced that the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) Workgroup is granting all conditional awardees a six-month extension to secure capital resources due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. ESSHI conditional awards are now valid until May 18, 2021.

The Network's Comments on HUD's Equal Access Rule Change
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a proposed modification to the 2016 Equal Access Final Rule, which previously ensured individuals access to shelter based on their preferred gender identity. The modification would grant shelters the right to discriminate against the transgender community, rejecting shelter-seekers under the guise of religious freedom.

S:US and Bronx Pro Group Host Virtual Topping Off for Jerome Avenue Apartments
Wearing masks and hard-hats, representatives of S:US and Bronx Pro Group led Zoom attendees on a virtual tour of their in-construction Jerome Avenue Apartments project in the Bronx, scheduled to open by the end of 2021. The tour coincided with the topping off of the structure of the building, which usually concludes the highest construction risk period in any development. Martha Mansoero of S:US and Justin Stein of Bronx Pro Group walked viewers through their nearly-finished- building that soon will provide 175 homes to a mix of formerly homeless and low-income individuals and families in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. 

Health and Hospitals Isolation Hotel Program
As of mid-July, isolation hotels for COVID-impacted supportive housing tenants and staff has moved over to NYC Health and Hospitals (H+H). Initially created to address the needs of individuals being discharged from hospitals, the new hoteling program now features medical and behavioral health services and is open to supportive housing tenants and staff who cannot self-isolate due to shared kitchens, bathrooms or bedrooms. Anyone who has tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or who has been exposed to someone with COVID is eligible. 

Remembering Joe McKenzie-Hamilton
Last month, the supportive housing community lost one of our best: Joe McKenzie-Hamilton from the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH). Joe died at home from sudden cardiac arrest on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. He is survived by his wife Sabra, son Adam (23), daughter Sophia (21), and son Brendan (18). Joe was a loving spouse, father, brother, son, uncle, colleague, and friend who cared more for others than he did for himself.

The Network is planning a series of virtual workshops to provide content to our membership in lieu of our annual statewide supportive housing conference. This series will launch Friday, September 18th and will have weekly programming every Friday at 1:00PM through early November.
COVID-19 Supportive Housing Recommendations

The Network's Supportive Housing Re-Opening Committee provides a regularly updated list of recommendations for supportive housing providers to consider when developing COVID-19 safety plans for supportive housing offices and residences. Read here.

The Network also complied a Tenant Engagement one pager with examples of creative ways our members are staying connected with tenants during COVID-19.
Comings & Goings
  • Nicole Branca is the new Executive Director of New Destiny
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