CSH director in New York, Kristin Miller, is quoted today in a New York Times article focused on the urgent need for more supportive housing in New York City and State.
Examining the history of past commitments to create supportive housing, the Times builds on personal stories to underscore how thousands of homeless individuals with mental illnesses and other disabilities have benefited from having their own affordable apartments and access to the services helping them to live independently, with dignity. Not only have they been housed and their needs addressed, formerly homeless people have been kept off the streets because of supportive housing.
In the article, a nonprofit developer says bluntly, “There’s no question that if there was more supportive housing, there would be less people in shelters.”
Reporting on the iterations of the three previous NY/NY initiatives to fund the development of supportive housing, Times’ reporter Winnie Hu points out how the father of the current New York Governor, then Governor Mario Cuomo, joined with former New York City Mayor David Dinkins in 1990 to start what has been a successful supportive housing program for homeless people facing behavioral health and other challenges. The result was the first NY/NY agreement, which was renewed in 1998 and again in 2005.
The current agreement is set to expire in June 2016 unless Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio confirm an ambitious commitment to create another 30,000 units of supportive housing. Over 200 advocacy groups, including CSH, are urging Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to sign the 4th NY/NY agreement now. To date, NY/NY has resulted in approximately 14,000 new and refurbished affordable apartments for the most vulnerable people in the Empire State.
In the Times article, CSH’s Miller sums up why NY/NY supportive housing is so vital by calling the support services “the glue that makes it all stick together.” She noted services provide not only daily living assistance for residents of supportive housing but instant social networks too. “The supports we all get, they don’t have,” Miller said. “It (supportive housing) helps people experience better health and wellness so they can really thrive in their environment.”