Media Mentions

“Not a Minute Too Soon”: Supportive Housing Network of New York on de Blasio Housing Plan

The Supportive Housing Network of New York is a nonprofit membership organization that represents over 220 nonprofits that develop and operate supportive housing, including Common Ground. This is The Network's statement about Mayor Bill de Blasio's recently released 10-Year Housing Plan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today issued "Housing New York," a plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. The plan offers innovative strategies to increase affordability and broad unit production goals, including a plan to work with New York State to expand supportive housing development. Mayor de Blasio unveiled his housing plan at 262 Ashland Place, the site of a mixed-income housing project currently in development by Gotham Development Corporation and Network members Common Ground and The Actor's Fund.

"Housing New York" outlines over 50 proposals to develop or preserve these new units of affordable housing. The plan states that supportive housing should serve an integral role in the fight to end homelessness and create new housing opportunities for vulnerable New Yorkers. It specifically advocates for the creation of a new supportive housing agreement between New York City and New York State as a follow up to the successful, 10-year New York/New York III Supportive Housing Agreement that is ending next year.

The Network fully supports this critical proposal to expand access to supportive housing across New York City.

"Mayor de Blasio's housing plan provides the exact solutions we need to end our city's record levels of homelessness," said Ted Houghton, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York. "This crisis calls for a robust investment in supportive housing and other housing options for homeless, disabled and very low-income individuals and families. The housing plan released today will work toward those goals. We're especially pleased that the plan calls for a new City-State initiative to expand upon the successes of the previous New York/New York Agreements."

"Today, the de Blasio Administration has made an extraordinary commitment to affordable housing, substantially increasing the capital and expense appropriations as well as significantly broadening and deepening the affordability income bands," said Bill Traylor, President of Richman Housing Resources and Chair of the Network's Board of Directors. "Its plan will indeed make the City a more equitable and livable city for all New Yorkers."

"I applaud the Mayor and his entire housing team for recognizing the importance of investments in supportive housing to address the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers," said Deborah VanAmerongen, Strategic Policy Advisor of Nixon Peabody and a Network Board member.

"Common Ground applauds Mayor de Blasio for making supportive and family housing a priority in his landmark plan," said Brenda Rosen, Executive Director of Common Ground and a Network Board member. "New York City is facing a homelessness epidemic and desperately needs safe, secure homes to accommodate an array of underserved populations. Common Ground's greatest focus is on aiding New Yorkers living with special needs, mainly through operating supportive housing. But we're also increasingly working to prevent homelessness among other very low-income New Yorkers, including families. We're thrilled that the Mayor has recognized the needs of both populations, and has set priorities that will make great strides in helping our City's most vulnerable residents."

Today's plan represents the most ambitious affordable housing agenda ever proposed by a New York City Mayor. The $41.4 billion plan proposes to more than double the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)'s annual capital funding in the 2015 budget. Over 10 years, the administration expects the plan to preserve 120,000 units of affordable housing and develop 80,000 new units. "Housing New York" outlines supportive housing as one of the five key tools to reaching its ambitious targets. As the report argues, "Investment in housing that is accompanied by supportive services can improve outcomes for people with mental health and substance abuse issues, while yielding significant taxpayer savings by reducing demand for high-cost shelters, hospitals, and other emergency resources."

As hoped, the plan urges for a successor to the 2005 New York/New York III Supportive Housing Agreement. The plan states, "the City will seek to renew its partnership with the State to expand the supply of supportive housing and to broaden the target population it serves." As the report points out, the NY/NY III Agreement has proven successful in almost every measure. NY/NY III has:
  • Reduced use of shelters, hospitals, psych centers and incarceration for an average net public savings of $10,100/unit per year, as reported in a 2013 study by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
  • Decreased chronic homelessness among single adults by 47% in its first five years.
  • Provided stability with more than 75% of tenants remaining housed after two years.

For decades, the supportive housing model has shown positive outcomes for tenants, communities and taxpayers:
  • More than 30 studies have shown that supportive housing reduces spending on homeless shelters, emergency healthcare, Medicaid, incarceration and other public systems.
  • On average, a 100-unit supportive housing residence creates 133 construction jobs and 16 permanent social service and property management jobs.
  • Supportive housing residences revive neighborhoods and correlate with an increase in surrounding property values.
  • Studies have proven that supportive housing improves the health and overall well-being of individuals with HIV/AIDS, mental illness and other hurdles to independent living.

The report includes a number of other proposals that impact the supportive housing community. The Mayor calls on the city to end veteran homelessness through programs such as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), create a targeted rental subsidy for homeless families, leverage Social Impact Bonds to finance supportive housing and accelerate the housing placement process through the creation of a "bottlenecks working group." The plan also argues for increased resources for tenants moving on from supportive housing, deeper income targeting for housing development and changes to zoning rules to help developers build supportive housing residences more efficiently.

Mayor de Blasio's housing plan doesn't come a minute too soon. "Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan" arrives as New York City faces its highest level of homelessness on record and an affordable housing crisis that continues to impact neighborhoods across the city. Network members Broadway Housing Communities recently received 48,000 housing applications for a residence of just 98 units, to cite one example. More than 52,800 individuals spent last night in the New York City shelter system, a number that doesn't capture those living on the streets or in non-public shelters. It is the Supportive Housing Network of New York's hope and belief that "Housing New York" will help alleviate this crisis.