Rebecca Sauer, Director of Policy and Planning at Supportive Housing Network of New York, issued this statement for the Landmark Place press conference held on February 13, 2017.
Along with the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, the Supportive Housing Network of New York has been working for three years to ensure that there are sufficient resources to house the most vulnerable New Yorkers, at a time when more than 80,000 are homeless statewide. We have applauded Governor Cuomo’s commitment to develop 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years and were pleased when his budget last year included resources to develop the first 6,000 over five years through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). However, the requirement that the appropriation be subject to a Memorandum of Understanding between him, the speaker of the Assembly, and the leader of the Senate, led to unsuccessful negotiations. The full pot of money has not yet been released. Nevertheless, as a result of the tireless advocacy of our partners and members, we were able to secure funding in the amount of $150 million in last year’s budget cycle to fund the first 1,200 units of supportive housing.
RUPCO’s Landmark Place will contain 35 ESSHI units, among the first in the state to be part of this monumental commitment. The historic property will be rehabbed to house seniors, including those that are medically frail, veterans, the chronically homeless and those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. This development will allow these people the opportunity to rebuild their lives and regain stability. The Network salutes RUPCO on innovative and critically essential work.
Meanwhile, back in Albany we are prepared for another season of budget negotiations. The governor has included $2.5 billion in his budget for an affordable housing plan, including $1 billion for supportive housing over the next five years. While this budget removes the requirement for the MOU, the proposal is still subject to negotiations in the legislature. Along with our partners, we are continuing to push for the release of much-needed funds for supportive housing, be it through the signing of last year’s MOU or through the appropriation of funds in this year’s budget. Organizations like RUPCO, with the buildings they develop and tenants they serve, remind us of why these government policies are so important. We look forward to the successful construction and opening of Landmark Place and the shared work ahead.