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HOMELESS AND HOUSING MEETING RECAP For April 6, 2021

(MSCC) Ashley Clemente, posted April 25, 2021

OVERVIEW

Talks about adaptive reuse, Beth Israel Hospital history and medical respite bed use, progress on housing initiatives, and workshop development.

CHAIRPERSON: John Mudd

INTRODUCTIONS

Nancy Young works at fountain house and working in an alliance with breaking ground, midtown community court and Times Square alliance on a project called community first. Which is a homeless outreach and mental health

BETH ISRAEL HOSPITAL

Arthur Swartz, public interest lawyer who advocated for the Beth Israel hospital, spoke about its history and current status

  •  Mount Sinai has been losing 100 million dollars a year in funding for their Beth Israel hospital; therefore was downsizing (closing hospital wings)
  • Arthur thinks the closed wings and empty beds could be adapted to behavioral house beds  (mental and medical respite beds) and covered by Medicaid to house people
  • Mount Sinai might be open to a plan making use of the vacant beds if it benefits them financially
  • Author’s suggestion is to use the closed wings in the building to serve the homeless

ADAPTIVE REUSE OF COMMERCIAL SPACE

  • John is working with others on a forum about adapting hotels into affordable housing
  • Ted has said that since homelessness is a crisis it should be treated like one
  • John is looking for endorsers, partners, advocates and helpers to work on this project

WORKSHOP / PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

MSCC has ongoing fitness, interview, and 12 step program, working on adding a resume building and hopefully adding how to navigate the housing system for the Skyline and will hopefully offer it to the public at large

STREET SHEETS

  • MSCC has created street sheets that is ready for disbursal with a list of helpful outreach and social services
  • NYC Council, Matt Green, has distributed the street sheets to our food providers
  • MSCC is looking for other volunteers to help with distribution

PUBLIC CONCERNS

  • Allen Silverstein: How can we help give access to the mental ill and drug addicts to the services they need to keep them off of the street and prevent harm to themselves and others
  • John: About 30% of people who are unhoused are dealing with mental health issues, the majority of people with the more serious issues are likely found with the street homeless population who are resistant to services
    • That being the case, how do we get the street residents the service they need
  • Jen states that covid amplified all of the problems on the street and it will get worst before it gets better, and the community should work on the mental health and drug use

ACTION LIST

  • Jennifer suggests that there should be a planning committee to discuss with mount Sinai the prospect of adaptive reuse of Beth Israel’s unused wings to a respite bed facility that will lead to housing prospects
  • Midtown Court along with  12 other organization is having a Community First event to inform the public of their services 11-3PM on April 30th,  at Duffey square
  • Lee Hirsch, Faculty Advisor, The Consulting Practice, Mailman School of Public Health – Columbia University, is leading a team to construct a pipeline from homelessness to housing through the medical pathway for MSCC

AOB

  • Public bathrooms (Portable bathroom for Hotels plazas) There will be more info next month
    • Speaker Suggestions: All suggestions are welcomed
    • New Members: Thanks for joining! Feel free to schedule a presentation and connect with other members
    • Next Meeting: 9:30 am, Tuesday, May 4, 2020 (The first Tuesday of every month)

ADDENDUM A: HOUSING COMMITTEE

DEFINING HOUSING

When advocating for housing rights with a focus on Community, the below items are considered:

  • Shelters: Truly transitional; although purposeful, achieving our housing and community goals will eliminate or lessen the need
  • Medical Respite Beds: Health care unit for longer stay and transitioning to Housing (see Addendum B: Medical Respite Bed Advocacy Plan)
  • SROs: Single Room Occupancy
  • Supportive: Accessorized with social services
  • Housing First: Unconditional placement
  • Really Affordable: Rentals below the medium wage of 55,000 and or below 30% of income (input)
  • Affordable: The market rate rentals currently available to people above the medium wage up to 88,000 with a 30% of income ask or higher (see Addendum x)
  • Option and Incentives for Home Owner

ADDENDUM B: POLICY MEETING RECAP FOR APRIL 6

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

  • John wants to quantify the various housing needs: SRO’s and affordable housing to render homelessness and housing insecurity moot
  • Use vacant land to create housing and put them into the hands of CLTs is a good idea promoted by Scott Stringer
  • The need for legislators to weigh in on how the Honda bill will help to give access to more housing opportunities for the homeless

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

  • John contacted Charisma’s lawyer to talk about the discrimination and help us to prescribe a pathway from vouchers to housing
  • Charisma: There are many obstacles that are put in places for people to not be able to gain access to affordable housing
  • People with vouchers due to shortages are usually placed in inadequate housing
  • Landlords have prejudices against voucher users
    • They give false information about availability, rental rates for considered affordable housing units
  • Shannon states there is disconnect between people, developers, landlords, and others on what is affordable
  • You need to register for a lottery to even view to view some “affordable” units
  • There are many loopholes that landlords can use, without saying they’re being discriminatory
    • Asking for source of income and any other background information
  • People are really misinformed on how to be able to get housing, local officials are also uninformed on to help out

HOUSING SUPPORT

  • Jen asks, why aren’t we making systems to help streamlining applications to help get people get housing
  • Discussed developing pipelines for finding and securing housing
  • Creating a workshop to inform people on how to properly navigate the housing system
  • Jen: Verizon teamed up with NYCHA to provide Wi-Fi to all of their building, is it not possible to partner with DHS and HRA buildings?
    • It’s been noted in previous meetings that using one conglomerate brings a host of other problems

ACTION/ RECAP

  • Creating a workshop on affordable housing vouchers and how to use them
  • Advocate for oversight