At Visit to Supportive Housing, Mayor de Blasio Announces Task Force to Help Deliver 15,000 New Units

January 12, 2016

NEW YORK—At a visit to Catholic Charities Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence, a supportive housing program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of a Supportive Housing Task Force to help the city implement its plan to create 15,000 units of supportive housing.

Supportive housing is affordable permanent housing with services, including case management, mental health and substance use disorder services, access to medical care, and other social and supportive services. Supportive housing has a proven record of helping stabilize people’s lives and reducing reliance on homeless shelters, hospitals, mental health institutions and jail.

“The creation of 15,000 supportive apartments means giving 15,000 individuals the best possible opportunity to overcome deep challenges like mental illness, homelessness and substance misuse,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It means thousands of people off the street, out of shelter, away from the revolving door of the criminal justice system and emergency rooms. As the Bishop Sullivan Residence demonstrates, supportive housing is a proven, cost-effective approach.”

Mayor de Blasio said a comprehensive toolkit is needed to help homeless people “transition from shelter, a mix of services targeted to their present needs to win their trust and help them rebuild their lives. That’s why we have strengthened every part of that toolkit, with HOME-STAT comprehensive outreach, doubling Drop-In Centers, adding Safe Haven beds, and adding 15,000 more units of supportive housing.”

The new Supportive Housing Task Force includes leaders and advocates. They will:

  • Serve as an expert panel of advisors to the City, offering innovative ways to develop and deliver supportive housing by leveraging lessons learned from past supportive housing agreements and finding new, creative approaches for both development and service delivery.
  • Help streamline processes for supportive housing to maximize efficiencies and eliminate bottlenecks among City agencies, developers, service providers and clients.
  • Develop strategies to better tailor services to the needs of various supportive housing populations.
  • Act as an ongoing partner and counterweight, supporting and challenging the City to realize a higher quality, better coordinated, supportive housing system.

“Supportive housing has a proven track record as a lifeline from the streets and from shelters to alleviate homelessness. To implement our plan to provide an unprecedented 15,000 new supportive housing units, we are bringing together people with the expertise and commitment to help us put together the most effective and cost efficient supportive housing program possible,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. “The better the program, the more people we can help.”

“Housing New York put supportive housing front and center as the best and strongest path out of homelessness,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been. “This Task Force – comprised of the leading practitioners, experts, and advocates in the field – will provide additional firepower to jumpstart the development of supportive housing and services that represent the most efficient, comprehensive, and humane answer to homelessness. We look forward to working with the Task Force to bring online more supportive homes than ever before for individuals and families looking to secure a more promising future.”

Taskforce Co-Chairs:

  • Co-Chair: Steven Banks, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services
  • Co-Chair:  Vicki Been, Commissioner, Department of Housing Preservation & Development
  • Co-Chair:  Laura Mascuch, Executive Director, SHNNY


Taskforce Members:

  • Mary Brosnahan, President and CEO, Coalition for the Homeless
  • Donna Colonna, CEO, Services for the Underserved
  • Paul Freitag, Executive Director, West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc.
  • Dr. Rosa M. Gil, Founder, President and CEO, Comunilife, Inc.
  • Tony Hannigan, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Urban Community Services
  • Ted Houghton, President, Gateway Demonstration Assistance Corporation
  • Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise
  • Jacquelyn Kilmer, CEO, Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc.
  • Sister Janet Kinney, Executive Director, Providence House
  • Sister Paulette LoMonaco, Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services
  • Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, CEO of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn & Queens and Vicar for Human Services for the Diocese of Brooklyn
  • Tori Lyon, Executive Director, Jericho Project
  • Sam Marks, Executive Director, LISC
  • Kristin Miller, Director, CSH
  • George Nashak, Executive Vice President, HELP USA
  • Tim O’Hanlon, Vice President, Hudson Housing Capital
  • Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO, CAMBA, Inc.
  • JoAnne Page, President and CEO, the Fortune Society
  • Jerilyn Perine, Executive Director, CHPC
  • Christy Parque, Executive Director, Homeless Services United
  • Christine Quinn, President and CEO, WIN
  • Brenda Rosen, President and CEO, Breaking Ground
  • Muzzy Rosenblatt, Executive Director, BRC
  • Fred Shack, CEO, Urban Pathways
  • Reverend Terry Troia, Executive Director, Project Hospitality
  • Deborah VanAmerongen, Strategic Policy Advisor, Nixon Peabody
  • Eric Weingartner, Managing Director, Robin Hood Foundation
  • Adam Weinstein, President and CEO, Phipps Houses Services Inc.

Located at 800 Madison Street in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, the Catholic Charities Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Residence provides supportive housing, with 76 apartments for formerly homeless adults, and was recently renovated to add 22 new apartments specifically designated for formerly homeless veterans.
More than 35 years ago, Catholic Charities created the Progress of Peoples Development Corporation.  Today, it is one of the largest faith-based providers of affordable housing in New York City, with more than 3,500 units of housing for low-income older adults, families, and formerly homeless individuals.  Catholic Charities considers affordable housing to be one of the cornerstones of its mission. 

In November, Mayor de Blasio announced the City’s supportive housing plan, which will target even more New Yorkers in need than previous plans, including homeless veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and street homeless individuals. The City’s 15,000-unit plan is comprised of roughly 7,500 newly-constructed, congregate units and 7,500 scattered site units. The plan will cost $2.6 billion in capital funds over the next 15 years to develop the 7,500 congregate units. Of the total capital costs, approximately $1 billion will be a City cost – and all but $380 million has already been budgeted through Housing New York. The remaining capital costs – approximately $1.6 billion – will be offset with low-income tax credits, and other private sources. There is also approximately $96 million in net operating costs over the Financial Plan (through Fiscal Year 19) – starting at $8.8 million annually in the first year and ramping up.

Supportive housing has a proven track record of cost savings. A Department of Health and Mental Hygiene study showed NY/NY III clients who were placed in supportive housing used public benefits, Medicaid, psychiatric institutions, jail, and shelters less than clients who were not placed, resulting in cost savings.

Mayor de Blasio has now substantially strengthened every step needed to move homeless people off the street, including creating HOME-STAT, the nation's most comprehensive street homelessness outreach effort, doubling the number of Drop-In Centers, committing to add 500 new Safe Haven beds, and committing to finance 15,000 new supportive housing units.

"Supportive housing embodies a crucial principle: smart investment in getting people the help and the tools they need is what solves problems like long-term homelessness," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I look forward to working with this team of providers as they begin the hard work of getting these units sited and online."

“Once again, Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated his commitment to a robust NY/NY IV agreement through his formation of the Supportive Housing Task Force. Supportive housing continues to be the only viable solution to end homelessness. It reduces the use of shelters, visits to detoxification centers, hospitalizations, emergency room use, and incarceration, and therefore saves taxpayers money. Supportive housing is the answer, and I applaud the Mayor for his continued efforts and ultimate goal of helping to end the worst homeless crisis since the Great Depression,” said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Committee on Social Services.

"I thank Mayor DeBlasio for this investment in the return to a civilized and humane City of New York! The greatest city in America must have a heart big enough for the dreams, needs and challenges of all our people. We will all be better people for it,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

“Supportive housing is the most effective method for combating homelessness and getting New Yorkers in need back on their feet,” said Council Member Steve Levin. “Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to provide 15,000 new units of supportive housing is a bold and much-needed undertaking that calls for a careful and well-organized implementation effort. I commend the Mayor for assembling a team of recognized experts and innovators to shape and refine this effort and ensure that our supportive housing programs are efficient, targeted, and above all responsive to the needs of homeless New Yorkers.”

“Far too often, we are seeing families evicted from their homes and forced to live in homeless shelters, or worse yet, living on our city's streets. As chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, I am happy Mayor de Blasio is creating a much needed Supportive Housing Task force to successfully create 15,000 new units of supportive housing. We know supportive housing works and we must invest significant resources, not just rhetoric, to address this crisis head-on,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

"I believe strongly that all hands must be on deck to stem the tide of homelessness in New York, and I’m thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has asked me to advise him and Commissioner Banks on this new and vital supportive housing program,” said Christine Quinn, President & CEO of Win (formerly Women in Need). "A challenge of the scale demands a comprehensive approach, and the goal of 15,000 new supportive housing units is a critical component. I will work hand-in-glove with my colleagues on the Supportive Housing Task Force to develop a plan that can lift up homeless families and children.”

“Permanent supportive housing is a fundamental component of any credible plan to address homelessness. Furthermore, targeting supportive housing to chronically homeless and acutely disabled people is a proven strategy to achieve significant reductions in homelessness on the streets and in shelters,” said George Nashak, Executive Vice President of HELP USA. “We look forward to working with the Mayor and his team to make certain his plan has the greatest impact possible.”

“I look forward to working with the task force to identify opportunities to expand upon creative and effective models of supportive housing, such as BRC's innovative collaboration with the de Blasio Administration on the first Home Stretch project, now in construction, said Muzzy Rosenblatt, Executive Director of BRC.

“Today’s announcement of a joint non-profit and City led effort to expand supportive housing in New York City recognizes and builds upon the decades of leadership by the non-profit sector to create affordable and effective permanent housing solutions for homeless New Yorkers, said Christy Parque, Executive Director of Homeless Services United, Inc. Through this collaboration, and the City and Mayor’s commitment of 15,000 units of the proven model of supportive housing we will begin a new era of innovation and vision that will serve New York City’s neediest.”

“For more than 40 years, Urban Pathways has shown that the most effective intervention designed to address chronic homelessness is supportive housing,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways. “The Mayor’s plan is the most comprehensive, far reaching to date and will go a long way in ending what has become a homeless crisis in New York City.  I’m honored to serve as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Supportive Housing and look forward to contributing to a permanent solution.”

"Supportive housing is a time-proven, cost-effective strategy to address homelessness. We see the results everyday: having a stable, affordable home and an on-site support staff who care about you and want you to succeed restores dignity and transforms lives. Breaking Ground is proud to join the task force and work with the City on the critical effort that will help the most vulnerable New Yorkers," said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground.

"We at Providence House could not be more excited about this effort. Everyone in New York at this point realizes the urgency of homelessness and the need for meaningful action,” said Sister Janet Kinney, Executive Director of Providence House. “Permanent supportive housing is a compassionate response that affirms the dignity of New Yorkers struggling with real, chronic problems in their lives. It is a proven solution, and it’s the way forward."

“Jericho Project is honored to be part of the Mayor's implementation plan for his bold initiative to create 15,000 new units of critically-needed supportive housing in New York City,” said Tori Lyon, Executive Director of the Jericho Project. “In Jericho's 33 year history, we have seen firsthand how supportive housing transforms the lives of homeless men and women, including the many veterans we serve.”

“The Supportive Housing Task Force is an excellent opportunity for us to come together and enact the best long-term solution to end homelessness in our City.  This goes beyond the pledge and puts into action Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create 15,000 units of supportive housing, ensuring we are able to help people as quickly as possible,” said Kristin Miller, Director of Corporation for Supportive Housing.

“We are elated with the Mayor’s extraordinary commitment to creating supportive housing. The Supportive Housing Network, moreover, is deeply honored to help lead the task force charged with implementing this historic plan. We look forward to bringing our community’s considerable experience to bear in order to most effectively meet the needs of the most vulnerable homeless New Yorkers alongside our government partners. We continue to hope that the Governor will join the Mayor for a newly imagined New York/New York Agreement that actually ends homelessness among New York State’s most vulnerable and maximizes the considerable expertise of our City and State agencies,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York.

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