Media Mentions

New York Daily News: Housing for the homeless — built with Medicaid money

New Bronx facility is part of a Cuomo administration initiative to save healthcare costs by providing quality housing.
By Matt Chaban / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Rendering of the Boston Road residenceThe 12-story affordable housing complex rising on Boston Rd. is not only prettier and greener than other facilities for the homeless — but it’s also the first such project in the five boroughs to be funded with Medicaid money.

The building, which will formally break ground Wednesday in Morrisania, is the fruit of a 2011 Cuomo Administration initiative to take funds typically set aside for health care for the poor and use it to build permanent housing for the homeless.

The administration said the money could be diverted for housing because doing so would save billions in health costs among the chronically homeless, who have some of the highest Medicaid bills in the state.

“They basically use the emergency room as a shelter,” said Brenda Rosen, executive director of Common Ground, which is building the 154-unit project, which will set aside 60% for homeless seniors.

Beyond its interesting fiscal backstory, the Alexander Gorlin-designed facility features a landscaped terrace and environmental features, part of Common Grounds’ mission to creative attractive affordable housing.

“We want to create a building that everyone can support,” Rosen said.

It’s working.

Many facilities for the homeless are criticized, but this one was welcomed, according to Joseph Alexander of New Covenant Christian Ministries, which sold the land for the tower.

“Everybody recognizes we are cleaning up the community,” he said.

This year, Cuomo has set aside $75 million in the Medicaid budget for housing. State housing commissioner Darryl Towns hailed the healthcare-housing scheme.

The administration, he said, will "provide affordable homes and support services to thousands of people in need — and at the same time save the state billions of dollars.”