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HOMELESS & HOUSING MEETING RECAP: JULY 6, 2021

Zoom at 9:30 am Tuesday, July 6, 2021  

SUMMARY

During this meeting, we updated our work on the Adaptive Reuse: Hotels to Housing efforts, marked the success and outlined the details of the House Our Neighbors with Dignity Act (HONDA); Rachel Hanover, Program Manager for Hope House with the Ladies of Hope Ministries, outlined Hope’s programs for women; Latisha Wright, Outreach Coordinator, Marketing and Affordability Oversight, NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) presented the NYC Housing Connect’s new website.

CHAIR PERSON: Sharon Jasprizza, MSCC

WELCOME / INTRODUCTIONS

  • John Mudd carried out introductions and the purpose of the meeting and Sharon Jasprizza referred to housekeeping matters. 
  • Apology Ted Houghton

8.30 AM POLICY MEETING UPDATES

Sharon Jasprizza updated the committee with a summary of the 8.30 am Policy meeting

  • The Policy meeting is a smaller group meeting, and all are welcome to contribute. The zoom link is the same for the 9.30 am meeting
  • The report Healthcare Access & Coordination for NYC’s Homeless was prepared by The Columbia Consulting Practice for MSCC earlier this year. The report studies the intersection of homelessness and the lack of access to health care
  • The committee discussed the report’s rollout, the press release Jen Mallicote is preparing, the production team needed for the 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm, Wednesday, August 11 event to show the PowerPoint presentation followed by a Q & A. We expect to determine the way forward with the recommendations/solutions the report refers to. If you are interested in joining the production team, please reach out
  • Issues and barriers associated with Housing Vouchers in NYC were discussed. Charisma White outlined some of the problems she has with vouchers. The committee is working on a PowerPoint teaching tool to outline issues and solutions for navigating housing vouchers. If you are interested in joining the teaching tool team, please let us know

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION(S): 

Rachel Hanover, Program Manager for Hope House with the Ladies of Hope Ministries: thelohm.org

  • Hope House is a co-living space for women and girls needing safe housing and supportive communities after suffering incarceration, trauma, domestic violence; Hope House in the Bronx, New Orleans, expanding in Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philadelphia
  • Hope House in the Bronx, New Orleans, expanding in Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The model is an emergency shelter model to help transition from prison and those moving from domestic violence. The emergency model has Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units attached
  • Ages vary at Hope House. Hope House partners with Peer Legacy, which primarily focuses on young girls in foster care, and Hope House also caters for older women
  • Hope House in the Bronx accommodates eight women and currently has four beds available. Rachel will email details of the four beds to John and Sharon to share with the network
  • Restrictions are limited; the house coordinator works with the ladies; the healing circles program occurs twice a week; there are supportive services for women fleeing domestic violence
  • Dept. of Corrections, the Probation and Parole Office, Federal Prosecutors Office, Osborne Society, and Exodus refer women to Hope House services

Actions

  • Rachel will email John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza regarding the four beds available to share with networks

ADAPTIVE REUSE TOGETHER: HOTELS TO HOUSING

Sharon Jasprizza referred to Ted Houghton’s, President of Gateway, an overview of the HONDA Hotel Conversion Bill, The Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act (HONDA) which the NYS Senate and Assembly passed on June 10, 2021:

  • HONDA funds will be available only to nonprofit developers/owners (joint ventures with private developers are allowed)
  • HONDA projects must reserve at least 50% of the units for formerly homeless New Yorkers, with the rest of the units going to households earning up to 80% Area Median Income, as long as a residence’s average AMI equals 50% or lower
  • The housing must be permanently affordable, and tenants will be rent-stabilized
  • The bill no longer includes geographic exclusion areas or size limitations but does include protections for union hotels
  • Units produced under HONDA must have individual bathrooms and kitchens or kitchenettes and meet other housing quality standards
  • The housing must comply with new prevailing wage standards for building service employees (with exceptions for supportive housing and projects with fewer than 120 units)

Actions:

  • Let John Mudd or Ted Houghton know any information you may have about hotels that may be available for conversion
  • John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza will update members with the next steps for the conversions of hotels to housing

NYC HOUSING CONNECT

Latisha Wright, Outreach Coordinator, Marketing and Affordability Oversight, NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD)

  • Latisha stepped us through HPD’s updated NYC Housing Connect Website by covering the different functions of the site—one method for searching for affordable housing in NYC and applying for the lottery system
  • Clients who had applied through the former website can still login into their accounts and check the progress of their lottery application. Clients can still review the log number, which was randomly assigned when applying for those lotteries on the old Housing Connect website. It’s essential to pay attention to the project status column. If clients see “tenant selection in progress,” this means the leasing agent for that development is still conducting applicant outreach. The client needs to wait until they are contacted. If they see “Lease completed?” this means all units marketed with this lottery are filled 
  • Summary: When a client applies for a lottery with the city, the client is only contacted when their log number is reached 
  • The developments listed on Housing Connect are privately owned and managed. They are not city developments. The developer partners with the city for specific funding and or tax treatment. In return, the developer contributes a percentage of units to housing affordability, and these units are awarded through a lottery system
  • Not all lotteries on Housing Connect market to different income groups. Encourage clients to check the lotteries for which they qualify 
  • The home page on Housing Connect provides an overview of the process. Step 1: Create an account. Step 2: Login and complete the client profile. The profile is a live application. Step 3: Apply for lotteries where household income and household size qualify clients. Step 4: The client is only contacted once their log number is reached after the lottery is completed and outreach is conducted. The client is invited to an eligibility appointment where eligibility is rechecked as there may have been changes to household income and size or other factors. Step 5: If the client passes the eligibility test, the client progresses to a credit background check, followed by signing 
  • There is a helpful filter on the home page where clients enter their household income and household size. The system filters lotteries that meet clients’ household income and household size
  • Where clients have a housing voucher, e.g., Section 8, City FHEPS, the minimum income requirement is waived. The client, however, does need to pay attention to the rent amount. Its important clients are not paying more than a third of their household income (30%)
    • Note: This includes utilities, but is it the portion of rent we are talking about? This needs to be clarified
  • If it’s more than 30% of client income, the rental subsidies or voucher program will not approve applications
  • Lotteries can be searched by borough
  • ABOUT Tab on the home page gives a specific view: of what is affordable housing, how housing connect works, an in-depth overview of the process, including a Q and A from previous applicants 
  • LEARN Tab has videos to navigate clients through the process. Transcripts for each video are also provided
  • When logging on the old site, the username was the primary email address. The new site generates a username. The usual security applies to the new site when creating the account
  • Without logging in, clients can click on OPEN LOTTERIES to find the list of available opportunities 
  • Credit scores and immigration status do not affect eligibility for  rental lotteries but do for housing lotteries (for ownership)
  • GLOBE icon: Spoken and written languages from around the world are included on the new website. Google translate changes to the required client language
  • Every lottery (rental and housing opportunity) has an eligibility requirement listed on the advertisement. Either use the housing filter on the home page, or if they have a rental subsidy, then able to also search by borough
  • All lotteries in the top portion of the advertisement include: details and address of development, name of lottery, deadlines, overview of household income and household size, specific funding programs associated with the development, priority groups, e.g., seniors, veterans (where one member of the household must satisfy to be called a priority group). Most lotteries prefer households with a disability (mobility, hearing, or visual) where one member meets the criteria for one of these three disabilities. Some have Community boards and municipal employee preferences 
  • AVAILABLE UNITS & REQUIREMENTS section of the advertisement breaks down the median income for the area, the unit type, income, and household range 
  • Maps are integrated with google maps showing nearby transits, photos, and overviews
  • Two ways to apply for the lottery. Paper lottery or online, and it’s essential to apply using one of these; otherwise, the application is disqualified. The advantage is to apply online because once the client profile is completed, it can used for lotteries where the client meets the criteria. Paper applications need to be repeated for each lottery. After applying on line, status can be found online 
    • Note: It’s unclear as to the followup of paper application
  • A housing lottery is not an immediate form of housing, and thus people needing immediate housing need to go to other housing providers
  • Every lottery receives tens of thousands of applications
  • Lotteries provide for varying levels of income

Questions and Actions

  • Clarification of the 30% income rule: Note: This includes utilities, but is it the portion of rent we are talking about?
  • Clarification is needed for people following up on their lottery paper application
  • The only way to get into new developments is with housing vouchers for low-income groups, but because of the 120-day limit on vouchers then housing lotteries do not match the needs of voucher users. Even though the income limits are waived for people with housing vouchers, its 120-day limit seems to be the issue. (This question needs to be directed to HRA as the Housing Connect team does not deal with voucher holders)
  • The need to see more developments for lotteries should be raised with developers, agencies, and State and Federal levels
  • HUD markers for area medium income for affordability. Definition of affordability needs to be discussed. In New York, the area medium income is an issue because of the high-income earners and thus does not reflect the low-income group, or the median wage earners. 
  • More affordable housing resources are needed
  • Follow up with Latisha’s Director after the meeting by emailing Latisha

Summary of Actions

  • Rachel will email John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza regarding the four beds available to share with networks
  • Let John Mudd or Ted Houghton know any information you may have about hotels that may be available for conversion.
  • John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza will update members with the next steps for the conversions of hotels to housing
  • Clarification of the 30% income rule: Note: This includes utilities, but is it the portion of rent we are talking about?
  • Clarification is needed for people following up on their lottery paper application
  • A need to see more developments for lotteries. These concerns need to be raised with developers, agencies, and State and Federal levels
  • Definition of affordability needs to be discussed
  • More information is needed about resources available
  • Follow up with Latisha’s Director after the meeting by emailing Latisha

AOB

  • Next Meeting: 9:30 am, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (The first Tuesday of every month) 
  • The Healthcare Access and Coordination for NYC’s Homeless Report by Columbia Consulting Practice for MSCC Presentation is planned for 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm, Wednesday, August 11. It will be followed by a Q & A. Invitations will be sent in early August. 

ADDENDUM A: HOMELESS & HOUSING POLICY MEETING RECAP

(Sub-committee of Homeless & Housing Committee) 

HOMELESS AND HOUSING POLICY RECAP

Date: 8:30 am-9:30am, Tuesday July 7, 2021 Zoom

HEALTHCARE ACCESS & COORDINATION FOR NYC’S HOMELESS

  • Sharon Jasprizza outlined the MSCC’s report was prepared by The Columbia Consulting Practice
  • Jen Mallicote spoke about the solutions the report put forward
  • John  Mudd spoke about the medical respite bed needs
  • Date of viewing the presentation of the report was decided for Wednesday August 11, at 5.30 – 7.00pm
  • Production team volunteers needed. Aja Tyler volunteered to be part of the team.

USING VOUCHERS IN NYC’S HOUSING MARKET

  • The Committee is working on a teaching tool for housing vouchers. Volunteers are needed to work with the team which includes Nicole Quinn, Nancy Young.
  • Real time data is necessary for people finding current housing 
  • Team is meeting next Monday to work on the teaching tool

ACTIONS

  • Team to work on the Health Report presentation
  • Team to work on the Teaching tool for housing vouchers

AOB

  • The Healthcare Access and Coordination for NYC’s Homeless Report by Columbia Consulting Practice for MSCC Presentation is planned for 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm, Wednesday, August 11. It will be followed by a Q & A. Invitations will be sent in early August. 
  • Next Policy Meeting: August 3, 2021, 8:30 to 9:30am, prior to the Homeless and Housing Committee Meeting