NYAPRS Note: Please join TOMORROW’S Rally outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC office to protest Albany’s delay of its commitment to build 6,000 new supportive housing apartments! See below for details.
Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing at the Governor’s Office for a Rally to
release $1.9 billion for affordable housing, including
6,000 new supportive housing apartments.
When: Wednesday, August 17th
Time: 9:00 AM
Where: Governor’s Office
633 Third Avenue near 40th street
4,5 or 6 Train to 42nd street
Hear from those living in supportive housing and housing provider leaders about the importance
of the agreement that needs to be reached to release the $1.9 billion
Contact Carla Rabinowitz at 212-780-1400 x7726 or
Note Speeches start at 9:00 am arrive early
Advocates Fume as State Housing Plan Delayed Until 2017
ByJacquelyn Simone August 16, 2016
While thousands of New Yorkers enduredangerously high temperatureson the city’s scorching streets and in crowded shelters, politicians in Albany are needlessly delaying the development of housing that could rescue them from the indignity and perils of homelessness.
Research definitivelyprovesthat supportive housing is the mostcost-effective,successfulmodel for breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness for people living with mental illness and other special needs.In January, Gov. Cuomo committed to building 20,000 new supportive units over 15 years to address record homelessness statewide.
The State budget set aside$1.9 billionfor affordable and supportive housing – to fund the first 6,000 supportive units – subject to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan. This additional legislative hurdle concerned advocates, since Albany has aspotty recordin actually signing MOUs. Sure enough, only$150 millionof the $1.9 billion was released by the end of the legislative session in June.
Now, months after Cuomo made his bold promise, the Governor is once again pushing back the timeline by suggesting that the remaining 90 percent of the funds won’t be released until 2017. As Joe Anuta writes inCrain’s, the recent development is disheartening to advocates:
“We are disappointed to hear that Governor Cuomo is not committed to signing the MOU eight months after he promised to create 20,000 units of supportive housing for homeless New Yorkers,” said the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, a group made up of housing advocates and builders, in a statement. “Without a long-term commitment to fund supportive housing, his promise means nothing.”
Weeks after the budget was signed, Cuomo’s affordable housing czar, James Rubin, told housing advocates that the plan would be rolled out within weeks or months. When no such agreement transpired, numerous organizations began demanding the state take action, while the Campaign 4 NY/NY went as far as picketing outside of the governor’s office.
The problem, they argue, is that affordable housing builders won’t start projects until there is some certainty about the state’s plan and when the money will be released.
“Everybody is sitting on their hands,” said Shelly Nortz, the deputy executive director for policy for the Coalition for the Homeless, a member organization of the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing.
Nortz said that in 2014, the state promised to dole out housing funds via an MOU that was never signed.
“We’ve been around this corner before,” she said. “Developers are not going to scoop up three [development] properties and wait for the governor to come up with the money in three years.”
The Coalition and other members of theCampaign 4 NY/NY Housinghave been picketingoutside Gov. Cuomo’s Manhattan office for the past three consecutive Wednesdays, and we will continue to hold the Governor accountable for the promises he’s made.
Join us at 9am this Wednesday at 633 Third Avenue as we tell Gov. Cuomo that there’s no excuse for holding up these funds – New Yorkers need supportive housing now!
Gov. Cuomo Doubtful That Full $2B Will Be Available For Affordable Housing This Year
By Kenneth Lovett New York Daily News August 12, 2016
ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo said Thursday he does not expect a deal to dole out the full $2 billion in affordable housing money agreed to in the current state budget until next year.
Cuomo has been under pressure by affordable housing advocates to cut a deal as quickly as possible with state legislative leaders.
But Cuomo Thursday said he is doubtful that will happen.
The governor and state leaders at the end of the legislative session in June agreed on how to spend $150 million in new housing money, far short of the $2 billion agreed to in the budget as the first installment of a five-year $10.6 billion housing program.
The rest of the $2 billion could be approved via an agreement signed by Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
But the sides thus far have not reached any deal on how the money should be spent.
“From my point of view, the funding for this year is in place,” Cuomo said. “The funding for next year we wouldn’t spend until next year anyway. You do it in January, you get to the same point anyway.”
A deal before then “won’t actually expedite any funding,” he said.
Housing advocates said they appreciate the $150 million being approved to create 1,200 new units of supportive housing.
But many projects, they say, can’t move forward without a long-term funding commitment.
“You can’t convince non-profit boards or investors to take a chance on a property when you don’t see long-term funding in place for it,” said one advocate. “It’s not conducive to just a one-year, one-year, one-year situation. That’s why we need a long-term agreement.”
The advocates also argued that the money approved earlier this year was not earmarked for any affordable housing programs.
Cuomo’s five-year plan calls for 100,000 units of affordable housing, they said.