For Immediate Release: 6/2/2016

GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor

NEW YORK STATE LAUNCHES PHASE ONE OF UNPRECEDENTED $10.4 BILLION
HOMELESSNESS ACTION PLAN

Request for Proposals Issued for 1,200 Units of Supportive Housing

Immediately Provides More Than 500 Beds for Homeless Individuals in New
York City

Statewide Shelter Inspection Complete

Creates Interagency Council on Homelessness to Guide Policy

Today, New York State announced the launch of Phase One of the Homelessness
Action Plan, which is part of a multifaceted, focused and comprehensive
package of initiatives involving multiple agencies. In his 2016 State of
the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a historic $10.4
billion commitment to combat homelessness statewide over the next five
years, which includes $2.6 billion for new supportive housing units and
$7.8 billion for continuing commitments in support of existing supportive
housing units, shelter beds, and other homeless services.

In remarks this morning
at the
Supportive Housing Network of New York State’s annual conference, New York
State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James S. Rubin outlined
phase one of the Action Plan, which includes:

· Issuing a Request for Proposals for 1,200 units of supportive housing.
The RFP is the first phase of the $2.6 billion plan to develop 6,000 units
of supportive housing over the next five years.
· Addressing inadequate shelter housing in New York City by providing to
the City of New York more than 500 beds in underused state and
state-licensed facilities for the homeless.
· Creating an Interagency Council on Homelessness to explore targeted
solutions to homelessness and recommend best practices and policies to meet
the ongoing needs of communities and individuals.
· Completing inspections of all 916 homeless shelters in the state and
taking action to improve the conditions in homeless shelters so facilities
are safe, clean and well-maintained.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James S. Rubin said: “With
unprecedented financial assistance to combating homelessness, Governor
Cuomo’s action plan is a broad, wide-reaching approach to addressing one of
our society’s most troubling and intransigent problems. It’s comprehensive
in the sense that it serves the entire state, but is designed to be
flexible in the solutions it prescribes – understanding that there is no
one way to solve homelessness. New York has always been ready and able to
look to novel approaches and good ideas to solve what some would see as
intractable issues. New York pioneered the Supporting Housing model and
thanks to Governor Cuomo’s deep commitment to confronting the many root
causes of chronic homelessness, we continue to lead.”

Permanent Support Housing
The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative Request for Proposals
announced today and issued by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
seeks to fund approximately 1,200 units of permanent Supportive Housing. These
units will serve vulnerable individuals with special needs, and will include a
variety of supportive services tailored to their needs such as employment
training, counseling, independent living skills training, benefits advocacy
and assistance in obtaining and maintaining primary and mental healthcare.

Proposals are due within 45 days and conditional award notifications will
be made at the end of August. Funds awarded through the Empire State RFP
will finance the operation and services provided by supportive housing;
construction funding is available through a number of other
New York State and local capital funding programs and is not covered under
this RFP.

Emergency Shelter Beds
In addition, the state has identified 513 emergency shelter beds in
underused state and state-licensed facilities to provide immediate relief
for the street homeless population and homeless individuals with mental
health or substance abuse problems. The state will work with the City of
New York to identify providers with the experience and expertise to
successfully manage these facilities.

State-wide Interagency Council on Homelessness
In December 2015, more than 100 nonprofit leaders who address homelessness
met with State agency heads about their work. To help guide and improve the
State’s ongoing response to homelessness and move beyond the idea that
there is one solution to homelessness, Governor Cuomo is forming the
Interagency Council on Homelessness, co-chaired by Fran Barrett, the
Governor’s Interagency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services, and HCR
Commissioner James S. Rubin.

Charged with taking a comprehensive look at the problem of homelessness
statewide, the Interagency Council will work collaboratively over the next
24 months with providers and local governments to identify problems, pursue
solutions and establish a creative and flexible set of best practices,
including ensuring a statewide Continuum of Care and conducting a thorough
review of policies and procedures that can eliminate barriers to service.

The Interagency Council will provide an opportunity to continue that
important dialogue and will begin its work immediately, with plans to issue
its first report in December 2016. The Council members include:

· Dr. Rosa Gil, President and CEO of Comunilife
· Tony Hannigan, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Urban
Services
· Deborah Damm O’Brien, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Housing of
Albany
· Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Senior Advisor to the President of Hunter College,
Chair of the Board of Directors of NYC Health + Hospitals
· John Paul Perez, Partner Relations Associate, Finger Lakes Performing
Provider System (FLPPS)
· Reverend Dr. Maria Skates, CEO of Utica’s Johnson Park Center
· Melissa Spicer, Executive Director, Clear Path for Veterans
· Christine Quinn, President and CEO of WIN
· Bobby Watts, Executive Director of Care for the Homeless
· Dale Zuchlewski, Executive Director, Homeless Alliance of Western New York

The Council is comprised of community leaders from across New York State,
as well as representatives from state agencies, including the Office of
Temporary and Disability Assistance, New York State Homes and Community
Renewal, Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Services, Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of
Corrections and Community Supervision, the Department of Health, including
the AIDS Institute, and the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Statewide Inspection Initiative
Improving the conditions in homeless shelters so facilities are safe, clean
and well-maintained is central to the success of the Homelessness Action
Plan. In the State of the State, the Governor announced an unprecedented
coordinated effort to undergo inspections at every shelter across the
state. Those inspections have officially been completed. The State’s
multiagency homeless shelter inspection initiative, led by OTDA, uncovered
deficiencies in 97 percent of shelters in New York State. These include
thousands of housing quality issues that affect the health, safety and
quality of life of the residents. These violations are unacceptable. In
response, today the state is announcing that it will:

· Require all homeless shelters using public funds to be subject to direct
state regulation and inspected annually by the State, including for the
first time shelters previously categorized as ‘uncertified’ shelters
· Require deficiencies at shelters be cured within specified deadlines
(outlined below) or the State will take enforcement action including, but
not limited to, closing shelters, installing a Temporary Operator,
withholding reimbursement and/or limiting intake of new residents.
· Require the operator of each emergency shelter to submit a security plan
to its local social services district and require each district to submit a
comprehensive security plan to OTDA for approval. Regulations will also
require that all serious security incidents be immediately reported to the
State.
· Review and approve the per diem rates set for all types of shelters.
The State found that rates paid to shelter operators by local social
service districts vary widely, irrespective of the quality and conditions
of the shelter and the social services it provides. The State will ensure
that reimbursement rates are appropriate for the type of shelter services
being provided and are sufficient to keep the shelter safe, clean and
well-maintained.

Today, all local social services districts received individualized reports
of the findings. The State will work with local social service districts to
develop a corrective action plan for all shelters with violations. The
corrective action plan will require the shelter operator to provide
satisfactory evidence that it has remedied the violation.

Additional actions will be taken in the case of shelters with the most
severe violations:

· The State shall place certain shelters under a temporary operator unless
violations of regulations have been resolved within 90 days.
· Shelters with the most severe violations per unit will be subject to
closure in 180 days if violations are not fully addressed.

Any shelter required to submit a closure plan must ensure that residents
are placed either in permanent housing or in another shelter before the
closure date. It is the responsibility of the local district to ensure that
all current residents are appropriately housed before the shelter is
closed. The State will track all residents in such shelters to confirm that
they have been properly placed in permanent housing or a shelter that is
clean, safe and well-maintained.

The multiagency team inspected all 916 homeless shelters across the State
over a 35-day period. Inspectors found 25,815 violations of habitability
and safety standards that affected the health and safety of shelter
residents, including 4,344 violations rated as severe.

The full report can be viewed here
.

Interagency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services Fran Barrett said:
“The homeless situation is dire. By combining the skills and experience of
both State Agencies and private experts, we will begin to reverse a trend
that has resulted in more than 88,000 people experiencing homelessness on
any given night throughout the State. The Governor is acutely aware of the
remarkable rate of increase of homeless families and is tasking this
Interagency Council with arriving at cross-cutting common sense solutions.”

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan said: “Governor Cuomo’s
historic investment in the battle against homelessness will provide
thousands of New York residents with the support they need to rebuild their
lives. For individuals struggling with mental illness and substance use
disorders, a safe place to live with integrated services is a proven route
to recovery and resilience. The Governor’s plan will improve the lives of
our most vulnerable residents by bringing together agencies, communities,
and service providers to create tangible solutions that seek to end
homelessness in New York State.”

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel Roberts
said: “This comprehensive, statewide review of homeless housing is an
important first step to creating standards that must be met. Access to a
home of one’s own, whether it is a single room or an apartment, can empower
people who are troubled or otherwise down on their luck to look forward to
a brighter, independent future.”

Lilliam Barrios Paoli, Senior Advisor to the President of Hunter College,
Chair of the Board of Directors of NYC Health + Hospitals said: “Governor
Cuomo’s commitment to investing in affordable housing and tackling the
homelessness crisis is bringing New York into a brighter tomorrow. From
establishing and interagency council on homelessness to kicking off the
development of 1,200 units of desperately needed supportive housing, New
York is tackling the homeless crisis head on. I applaud Governor Cuomo for
his leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing the impact this
historic investment will have in the lives of our most vulnerable New
Yorkers.”

Dr. Rosa Gil, President and CEO of Comunilife said: “Today’s actions
announced by New York State are imperative to mitigating the homelessness
crisis. By providing funding for new housing units, beds and supportive
services, the State is taking an aggressive step toward ensuring that those
in need have access to resources that will place them on the road towards
health, recovery and prosperity. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his
leadership on this issue, and his commitment to improving the lives of all
New Yorkers.”

Tony Hannigan, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Urban
Services said: “Working on the Interagency Council on Homelessness is a
great opportunity for me and for all of us working on this to help shape
better systems of services and housing for homeless individuals and
families in New York.”

Deborah Damm O’Brien, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Housing of
Albany said: “Governor Cuomo and NYS are leading the way in the fight
against homelessness, proving that no matter how pervasive, or seemingly
unconquerable, government and its partners can successfully tackle this
crisis. This comprehensive action plan not only keeps more people off the
streets, but ensures the homeless and vulnerable that they can have hope
and a home. Today New York’s moral compass is pointed in the right
direction, and I am proud play a role by serving on the Interagency
Advisory Council.”

John Paul Perez, Partner Relations Associate, Finger Lakes Performing
Provider System said: “Combatting homelessness is a challenge, but the
action plan announced today by New York State gives protection and hope to
countless individuals and families across New York. I am proud to be a part
of Governor Cuomo’s Statewide Interagency Council on Homelessness, where we
will continue our work in combatting this crisis by developing real policy
recommendations and provide insight into the growing problem across New
York.”

Christine Quinn, President and CEO of WIN said: “As the impact of
homelessness grows in our communities, Governor Cuomo has once again
stepped up to the plate and is delivering real, tangible solutions for all
New Yorkers. These groundbreaking initiatives, including the development of
1,200 units of supportive housing will make a fundamental difference in the
lives of New York’s children and families. I thank Governor Cuomo for his
comprehensive efforts to combat this crisis, and I look forward being a
proud partner in this action plan.”

Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground said: “We cannot thank
Governor Andrew Cuomo enough for his continued commitment to helping
homeless New Yorkers restore their lives. Transitional housing is a
critical resource to break the cycle of housing instability and
homelessness for some of our most vulnerable clients. The Governor’s
generous assistance of state-run facilities for transitional housing
development will be an invaluable resource in our efforts to end
homelessness.”

Muzzy Rosenblatt, Executive Director of BRC said: “I’m grateful for and
inspired by Governor Cuomo’s dogged determination to maintain a focus on
the needs of homeless New Yorkers, our most vulnerable neighbors, and his
continued commitment to create the opportunities and provide the resources
that can and will make a positive and meaningful impact on people’s lives.
His leadership evokes the spirit of FDR, who said “the test of our progress
is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is
whether we provide enough to those who have little.”

Reverend Dr. Maria A. Scates, D.D. CEO/Founder of Utica’s Johnson Park
Center said: “Homelessness – the visible and the hidden – illuminates the
division between those who have and those who have not. The state’s action
plan provides powerful, real-world solutions to real-world problems, and
drives these actions forward with an unprecedented investment in combatting
the homelessness crisis. As someone who has faced homelessness personally,
I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in working to strengthen the
New York family.”

Melissa Spicer, Executive Director, Clear Path for Veterans said:
“Homelessness is a crisis in New York, and Governor Cuomo has put forth a
solutions-based approach that addresses the causes of this pervasive moral
dilemma. Ensuring that our veterans, who have put their lives in harm’s way
to safeguard our protections, have a safe and comfortable place to call
home is a priority, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and
commitment to protecting a population that should be assets to New Yorkers,
not living in homelessness.”

Dale Zuchlewski, Executive Director, Homeless Alliance of Western New York
said: “Homelessness has been a crisis in our state for decades – but with
this robust action plan, New York is launching an unprecedented response to
attack this problem head-on. By immediately providing funding for more than
1,200 supportive housing units, 500 beds, and supportive services, those in
need will have better access to the resources necessary to help them get
off the streets and on a path toward a brighter future. I commend Governor
Cuomo for his commitment to improving the quality of life for millions of
people across the state.”

Bobby Watts, Executive Director of Care for the Homeless, New York City
said: “We have had a great example at the federal level of an Interagency
Council has helped to marshal resources. It is one of the best investments
we can make to address homelessness.”

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