Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and leaders of the New York State Legislature agreed on April 7 to a budget for the state’s fiscal year 2017-18, which began on April 1, that includes a total of $2.5 billion over five years for the construction and rehabilitation of 6,000 units of supportive housing and 100,000 units in other statewide affordable housing programs. The budget was a major win for New York affordable housing advocates.
Within the $2.5 billion allotment is $1.97 billion that was appropriated but not allocated in last year’s budget. The $1.97 billion derives from a commitment Mr. Cuomo made during his 2016 State of the State address, in which he pledged support for a 5-year, $2 billion plan to address the state’s affordable housing and homelessness needs by building 20,000 units of supportive housing (see Memo 1/19/16). The 2016-17 state budget included an appropriation of the full $2 billion, but only $150 million was made available (see Memo 7/11/16). In order to access the balance of the $2 billion, the executive branch and state legislative leaders needed to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for how the money would be spent. The additional funding went idle when elected officials reached a stalemate over the terms of the MOU and adjourned the State Assembly in July, 2016.
This month’s commitment marks the culmination of a three-year advocacy campaign by the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, a coalition of organizations led in part by the Supportive Housing Network of New York (the Network), a NLIHC state partner. The Campaign was dedicated to persuading Mr. Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), and state legislators to commit to the creation of 35,000 units of supportive housing in the state. The sustained effort garnered the support of 350 nonprofit organizations statewide, including 230 faith leaders, and 75% of the New York State Assembly and State Senate, and generated more than 150 press mentions throughout the state over the past two years. As a result of the Campaign, in November 2015, Mr. de Blasio committed the City to funding 15,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, known as the NYC 15/15 plan, and Mr. Cuomo subsequently made his 2016 State of the State commitment. The budget approved on April 7 represents the crowning achievement of the Campaign’s efforts.
“The Supportive Housing Network of New York and our 200 members across the state are elated about today’s announcement,” said Network Executive Director Laura Mascuch. “We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie for this visionary and judicious investment and for the hard work that went into the process. Today’s actions cement New York’s well-earned reputation for inventing and bringing to scale innovative models that provide the most vulnerable people among us the opportunity for a home, health, and a life of dignity. We truly appreciate the dedicated members and staff who made this crucial goal a reality.”
"The Assembly Majority is committed to helping every family in New York secure affordable housing," said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) in a press release. "Our budget enacts a five-year spending plan that helps close some of the gaps that leave New Yorkers vulnerable and ensures meaningful steps towards addressing the affordable housing crisis in our state."
Details on how housing and homelessness funding in the 2017-18 state budget will be allocated are available on the Network’s blog at: http://bit.ly/2pyvVsB
For more information, contact Steve Piasecki at firstname.lastname@example.org.