City Awards Contracts to Provide 550 Supportive Housing Units

December 12, 2016

Supportive Housing Task Force makes recommendations to improve service delivery for the most vulnerable New Yorkers

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that as part of his Supportive Housing Initiative, the City has awarded contracts to 11 organizations to provide 550 supportive housing units. The scattered site units are part of the plan to create 15,000 units of supportive housing during the next 15 years. In addition, the Supportive Housing Task Force, which was assembled in January of 2016 to assist the City in implementing this initiative, issued a report with recommendations to improve key aspects of supportive housing, including the referral process, development, and delivery of services.

“As we announced a year ago, increasing supportive housing is a key part of our effort to fight homelessness on every front. Our goal is to be able to provide permanent housing designed specifically for New Yorkers who don’t need just a place to live, but also support to overcome physical and mental health issues, and other difficult circumstances in their lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are confident in the ability of these organizations to work with us to advance our efforts by helping New Yorkers in need on their path to wellness and stability. We also applaud the efforts of the Supportive Housing Task Force for providing a roadmap to improve the way we provide services.”

The contracts to develop the 550 supportive housing units were awarded to organizations with vast experience addressing the complex issues faced by homeless New Yorkers. These organizations are Breaking Ground; Bridging Access to Care, Inc.; Camba, Inc.; Odyssey House, Inc.; Federation of Organizations for the NYS Mentally Disabled,  Inc.; Jericho Project; Unique People Services, Inc.; Faces NY, Inc.; Iris House: A Center for Women Living with HIV, Inc.; Urban Pathways, Inc., and Institute for Community Living, Inc.

“Decades of healthcare research have shown that a critical part of health and well-being is access to stable, long-term, permanent housing. This Administration has made historic investments to support the mental and physical health needs of all New Yorkers, including our most vulnerable residents. These 550 units are just the beginning of our 15,000 unit commitment, and will begin to put vulnerable New Yorkers on a more sustainable path forward. I thank the Supportive Housing Task Force for their work in building a vision to provide critical services to those who need it most,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

“As we continue our efforts to provide homeless New Yorkers with the best options to overcome their challenges and achieve stability in their lives, these 550 City-funded supportive housing units will provide a critical pathway forward for vulnerable individuals. I am also proud to join forces with the members of the Task Force to improve services for our clients,” said Department of Social Service Commissioner Steve Banks. “The collective expertise of this group has provided invaluable insights into how to better serve the most vulnerable in our city”.

"For people living with a serious mental illness or a substance use disorder, supportive housing makes access to care as easy and convenient as possible," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "These new units will help hundreds of those in need have access to services that will enable them to live fuller, much healthier lives."

The units are procured by the New York City Human Resources Administration and will be administered by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The populations targeted for these units are chronically homeless single adults and adult families who have a serious mental illness or substance use disorder, including those who may have a co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorder.

The selected contractors are required to provide a wide range of supportive services that align with the needs of the populations served. These services include case management, person-centered planning, health and wellness services, among others. Each contractor will develop, in conjunction with each client, an individualized housing-related needs assessment and support services plan, including an action plan with clearly stated goals aimed at assisting clients to achieve and maintain recovered, independent lives. In addition, each contractor will coordinate services for each client with the organization’s own programs or other appropriate providers in the community. Supportive Housing Initiative tenants will contribute a fixed amount of 30 percent of their gross household income toward rent.

The Supportive Housing Task Force, comprised of 28 experts from the public, private and non-profit sector, was formed to advise the City on how to implement the Mayor’s plan to provide 15,000 supportive housing units over the next 15 years. The Task Force spent six months assessing the current state of programs and providing innovative solutions to improve development and service delivery, streamline processes, and better tailor services to the needs of supportive housing residents.

“We are fortunate to have the leading practitioners, experts, and advocates in the field partnering with us to create the next generation of supportive housing for our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been. “The Task Force’s recommendations represent a blueprint for delivering the housing and services that will help homeless families and individuals secure a more promising future.”

“We are delighted to see progress being made toward realizing the Mayor's promise of creating 15,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Network of NY & co-Chair, Mayor’s Supportive Housing Taskforce. “The recommendations released today reflect the best thinking of the supportive housing community, including nonprofit providers, government partners, and researchers. These recommendations will help the City design the next generation of what has been the most promising intervention yet developed to help the neediest New Yorkers live in dignity in our communities.”

"I was very proud to serve on the Mayor's Supportive Housing Task Force, which has recommended a number of strategies that will better address the homelessness across the five boroughs. Breaking Ground is pleased to see these measures adopted by the City, and as New York's largest provider of supportive housing, we stand at the ready to do our part. The award of additional scattered site supportive units is one of the strategies our agency will begin work on right away to benefit the homeless, who are especially vulnerable during these cold winter months," said Brenda Rosen, President & CEO of Breaking Ground.

Among the recommendations issued by the Task Force are:

  • Target units to three broad populations – adults, families, and youth – and incorporate a vulnerability index that will allow the City to identify and prioritize supportive housing to target those most in need.
  • Allow additional professionals, such as licensed clinical social workers and psychologists, to complete mental health evaluations for the 2010e supportive housing application in order to expand opportunities for higher need individuals to be assessed and thereby increase access to supportive housing placements.
  • Utilize evidence-based and evidence-informed practices and ongoing staff development across supportive housing, which will allow providers to deliver services that have been proven effective and will help to improve the quality of care and outcomes for residents.

For a copy of the report click here.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, "My administration has been focused on creating and preserving thousands of affordable housing units across Brooklyn, including units for some of our most vulnerable residents who are in need of a helping hand. Supportive housing is key to this mission, and I am glad that the de Blasio Administration is equally committed to increasing this critical housing stock that is helping many New Yorkers not only survive, but thrive. We are a stronger city when all of our residents have a safe and supportive place to call home."

"Guiding our most vulnerable New Yorkers on the path towards stability and self-sufficiency requires a commitment to comprehensive and effective homelessness services," said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. "More than just a place to live, supportive housing provides individuals with tailored programs that address mental and physical health needs, as well as other barriers preventing the positive life outcomes our community deserves. I applaud the Administration's commitment to develop these supportive housing units — a huge step towards addressing this challenge. In conjunction with the most recent findings from the Supportive Housing Taskforce, I'm confident we are well equipped to continue making lasting progress."

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s initiative in creating over 500 supportive housing units towards the ultimate goal of the City creating 15,000 units for homeless New Yorkers. The Supportive Housing Task Force should also be commended for their work in identifying ways supportive housing units should be improved, as we fulfill our constitutional obligation to shelter some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Assembly Member Andrew D. Hevesi, Chair of Assembly Social Services Committee.

“I applaud the Mayor for making this historic commitment towards funding 15,000 new units of supportive housing and taking the time to seek input from providers. I am excited the City is moving forward with the recommendations from the Task Force and look forward to the impact permanent supportive housing will have improving the lives of the homeless,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, Executive Director of BRC.

“HELP USA was proud to participate in Mayor de Blasio’s Supportive Housing Task Force. The task force brought together committed stakeholders to advise the Mayor on the deployment of his plan for 15,000 new units of permanent supportive housing. The process had true integrity, examining data and analyzing the lessons learned from the previous New York/New York agreements,” said George Nashak, Executive Vice President at HELP USA. “We look forward to continuing the partnership with the administration to implement this significant enhancement to New York City’s supportive housing portfolio.”

Giselle Routhier, Coalition for the Homeless, said, “Supportive housing is a proven, cost-effective way to reduce homelessness and help vulnerable New Yorkers get back on their feet. Today’s announcement is an important step in tackling New York City’s homeless crisis, and the Task Force’s recommendations will help make sure we are making the most out of supportive housing resources.”

"One never knows at the outset of a task force, but this one managed to make many useful recommendations that will benefit the homeless individuals and families who move into the next generation of supportive housing," said Tony Hannigan, Center for Urban Community Services Founder and CEO.

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