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Homeless And Housing Recap for December 1 2020

(MSCC) John Mudd, December 22, 2020

Homeless and Housing Meeting Recap for Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Time: 9:30 am-10:30 am

Chair person(s): John Mudd, MSCC

This is our monthly Zoom Homeless and Housing meeting. If there were any concerns we missed, please forward. It’s our purpose to provide a space for networking and sharing of ideas. 

If any content below is mischaracterized or needs more clarity please let us know. And don’t forget to check out the announcements from our partners at the end of this recap!

PURPOSE

The Homeless and Housing members, attendees, and speakers are here to share knowledge, ideas, and resources to identify problems and find solutions to the homeless crisis.

Today’s meeting agenda is with emphasis on adapting hotels to housing, with followup on model budget and aftercare. The Homeless and Housing December 1, 2020 meeting can be viewed on MSCC’s Facebook

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION(S) AND UPDATES: 

  • Daniel Pichinson, Ryan Chelsea Clinton updates
  • Natalie Naculich, HCC, WSNA: Housing activism updates 
  • Josephine Ishmon: 
  • The Dwelling Place, 409 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018, Open for over 45 years, has 15 beds, and is successful in retention and finding permanent housing

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

The prior 8:30 Homeless and Housing Policy meeting wrap-up as presented by the chair or selected participating member(s)…

The committee discussed how best to build foundations for better aftercare. It becomes the responsible of the agency. Broadly speaking, the agency have to build their best practices The provider has to carry the brunt of the aftercare. 

Home-base known more for preventative services, but also provides aftercare. COVID have created problems. The needs are high, services are remote, and resources are limited (For more details see Addendum B).

SUPERVISE INJECTION SITES

Richard Perkins & Van Asher, Housing Works; Emily Bartosek & Nick Guile, Linda Rosenthal office

Linda Rosenthal’s bill to make SIS (Supervised Injection Sites) legal: Senate Bill S498, 2019-2020 Relates to the enactment of the Safer Consumption Services Act (Other details see Addendum C)

The supervised Injection Sites agenda item discussion was moved to February’s meeting.

HOUSING COMMITTEE

Housing Committee’s Members (see Addendum A). Anyone wanting to be involved let us know via email or chat box.

HOTEL ADAPTIVE REUSE / HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES

Ted Houghton, Gateway Housing, spoke about tangibles, opportunities for a more equitable society through housing development. After introducing himself, Ted opened the discussion with asking, how can we expand permanent housing? 

The hotels are in the most immediate distress, highly leverage, with no business, many owner would like to use them for shelters for a couple of years and when the good times come back they be back in business. Some are looking to sell. Ted, is looking for long range plans from the city by turning the hotels into housing. 

There are 800 hotels in NYC, 156,000 rooms. Hotels were overbuilt before the pandemic, and lot of these are not coming back, but we must move quickly.

If we’re going to transform tens of thousands hotels to housing units, we need to preserve the normal flow of 1000 units per year. We should not supplant the hotel pipeline onto the current housing development plans.

There are regulatory restrictions, zoning, building codes, and financial challenges:

  • City is not well financially 
  • Its the last year of the admin
  • Hotel owners are holding out for top dollar

NYC builds more affordable than any one around the country. HPD & Housing development corp and state using federal credit tax credits, and tax exempt bonds, city tax levied capital all the way to the lowest income Rent subsidies, to create affordable housing even for the homeless 

Opportunities are there. The concept is strong. DHS is adding a tool that will motivate financing. The developer/nonprofit will use the DHS contracts of 30 years duration to finance permanent homes for the homeless. This is a huge innovation because the agency was always focused emergency shelter, but now are looking for a long term solutions.

We need billions of dollars to invest in affordable housing for homeless if we’re going anywhere.

MaryAnn Galli, community member, raised concerns about the hotels being used for shelters on her block. “It’s too much, I can’t go out at night in either direction.”

Ted, “This is an important consideration, and you want to be able to walk down your street. Rather than turning hotels into shelters, turn them into housing.” Changing shelters into permanent housing resolves the issue.

We’ve created 50,000 supportive housing (including the Holland House, Woodstock, Prince George…), managed by various nonprofits. This coalition has been operating for years giving people stability, greatly improving the area, and making the community safer.

NYU studied property values, and one of their finding are the closer you are to supportive housing the faster and higher your property values increase. 

See The Homeless and Housing Study’s Property Depreciation Myth, page 78 for supporting evidence.

The idea is to prevent the hotels from sitting vacant. And try to convert them into housing. This is a solution for corridors with too many hotels, such as 36 Street. People become residents and neighbors, and the area becomes a neighborhood.