On May 5, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) released his plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. Highly praised by advocates across the state, the proposal, Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan, incorporates suggestions from two New York City-based campaigns: the Housing First! Campaign and the United to End Homelessness Campaign (UEH)—both of which include leadership from NLIHC State Coalition Partner, the Supportive Housing Network of NY (the Network). The plan will require the continuance of state and federal government funds for affordable housing programs and calls on state and federal leaders to “…step up their efforts to fund new programs and identify additional resources like the proposed National Housing Trust Fund” to help the city achieve its goals. Advocates say the plan represents the most ambitious affordable housing agenda proposed by a New York City Mayor.
UEH formed in 2013 to urge the incoming mayor and city council to employ solutions to prevent and end the city’s homeless crisis (see Memo, 4/19/13). In September, the coalition of nonprofit organizations, faith-based leaders, service providers, and homeless individuals issued a Roadmap to Ending Homelessness for the new administration, and have been pleased Mayor de Blasio’s adoption of strategies and best practices as outlined in the UEH report (see Memo, 11/1/13). For instance, advocates called for the expansion of supportive housing as a proven and cost-effective solution to address homelessness among people with substance abuse, mental health, and other chronic medical concerns.
Mayor de Blasio’s plan highlights supportive housing as one of the key tools to reach the city’s goal of preserving 120,000 units and building 80,000 new units over the next 10 years. The proposal also supports a new supportive housing agreement between the city and the state as a successor to the 10-year New York/New York III Supportive Housing Agreement that will expire at the end of this year. Among its many successful outcomes, the program decreased chronic homelessness among single adults by 47% in its first five years, according to the Network.
Housing New York embraces additional suggestions made by UEH’s including restoring priority of public housing services to homeless families—a condition that was removed under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Administration, re-establishing priority for Housing Choice Vouchers to people experiencing homelessness, and the creation of a new rental assistance pilot program for homeless families. Advocates also urged the city to establish a task force on ending homelessness. While the Mayor’s plan calls for the creation of a task force, he does not name it. However the City Council plans to introduce legislation to specifically create a homeless task force.
The $41 billion plan would more than double the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s annual capital funding in the FY 2015 budget and is expected to yield revenue savings by reducing the demand for shelters, hospitals, and other public emergency resources if implemented. The proposal also calls for greater utilization of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program to end veteran homelessness, deeper income targeting for housing development, and amendments to zoning laws to facilitate the efficient development of supportive housing residences.
UEH leaders will continue to meet with the city’s elected officials to help advance the plan and will continue to educate new city council members about homeless and housing concerns. Nearly half of the 51-member council was newly-elected in November.
“The Housing New York plan proves that Mayor de Blasio is serious about solving New York City’s housing affordability crisis,” said Ted Houghton, Executive Director of the Network of New York and Co-Chair of Housing First! We are particularly pleased that the administration has chosen to invest $41 billion in affordable housing construction and preservation. This ambitious housing plan now has dollars attached to it in the Mayor’s Executive Budget. Placing $2.5 billion into the capital housing budget over the next four years will put New York City in a strong position to reach the mayor’s 10-year, 200,000-unit goal. I am particularly pleased by the plan’s commitment to expanding supportive housing development. The Mayor’s budget plan increases the city’s capital funds to over $100 million a year. This will fund the construction of thousands of units of permanent supportive housing for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including homeless individuals, families and seniors.”
Read Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan at: http://on.nyc.gov/1fJXrNr
For more information contact Edline Jacquet, Supportive Housing Network of New York, at firstname.lastname@example.org.