NEW YORK, NY – July 9, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Homeless Services Commissioner Robert V. Hess (DHS) announced today that New York City will receive $73.9 million in stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed by President Obama in February. The City will be the nation’s largest grantee of stimulus funds for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs, and will use $51.5 million to support DHS’ award-winning Homebase program. Homebase helps individuals and families avoid homelessness by helping them to address immediate obstacles, such as non-payment of rent, which could result in eviction from their homes. It also includes other innovative prevention efforts performed in collaboration with city agencies and non-profit service providers. The remaining $22.4 million will go to rapid re-housing initiatives to help move individuals and families from the streets or shelters back into their communities quickly, including those hard-to-serve families and individuals, such as the street homeless, homeless youth, and those who are mentally ill.
“Through our innovative community-based prevention programs, we are working to keep families where they belong-in their homes,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As a prevention model for the rest of the country, Homebase uses effective tactics such as landlord mediation, short-term financial assistance and legal counseling to keep families in their homes. In these economically challenging times, we cannot afford to have a single family enter emergency shelter when they do not have to. These federal stimulus dollars will ensure that we continue to care for our most vulnerable population and remain focused on our ultimate goal of placing homeless individuals into permanent housing.”
In 2004, New York City launched a community-based prevention pilot program, Homebase, in the six most-at risk for shelter entry community districts (Jamaica, Queens (CD 12); East Harlem (CD11); Bushwick (CD04); Bedford Stuyvesant (CD03); Crotona (CD06); and the South Bronx (CD01). Homebase has since expanded citywide, serving all five boroughs and 59 community districts. Program services are specific to the unique needs of each individual or family. A case manager coordinates services for the recipient, some of which are provided directly through Homebase, and others provided by community partners. Services include mediations, legal services, financial and employment assistance, money management and mediation, among others.
“There was a time when many New Yorkers thought temporary emergency shelter was their only option,” said Commissioner Hess. “Every day, prevention efforts prove this is no longer the case, by offering clients the services they need to regain stability and maintain independence. This stimulus funding will help secure prevention services and make sure they continue to be available to families and individuals who need them most.”
“I know this funding will prove instrumental in enhancing the lives of homeless New Yorkers and helping them return to self-sufficiency quickly and effectively,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Nationwide, we are seeing a real need, and a true appreciation, for federal assistance as many municipalities face tough economic times.”
Since its inception, Homebase has assisted more than 14,300 households, including over 15,000 children. Nine out of ten households, or nearly 13,000, have successfully stayed in the community and not re-entered shelter after one year. In addition, Homebase has provided more than $9.2 million in flexible, short-term financial assistance to families at risk of shelter entry since September, 2004. Family Anti-Eviction Legal Services contracts have provided over 24,900 families with children with full legal representation at New York City Housing Courts since July 2003. In addition, short-term legal services are provided to over 650 families per year-over 3,400 since the service expansion was implemented in July 2004.
In addition to homelessness prevention efforts, these stimulus dollars will be invested in strategies that quickly place families and individuals into homes of their own, as stable members of the community. Program tools include funding short-term housing assistance and case management services that allow street homeless individuals to work with outreach teams in a safe environment as they move towards permanent housing. Other methods enable existing family shelter providers to enhance client engagement and move families more quickly to permanent housing. In addition, DHS will create a program to help families that face significant barriers in securing permanent housing due to health, mental health, and other disabling conditions overcome these barriers.
New York City will use the stimulus funds to serve an estimated 25,000 more at-risk and vulnerable households through prevention and re-housing services, at an average cost of $3,000 per household compared to the average cost of about $36,000 for sheltering a family for one year.
To maintain accountability and transparency in the City’s use of stimulus funding, all funding allocated to New York City can be closely tracked at www.nyc.gov/stimulustracker. ARRA dollars can be tracked from initial allocation through project completion. In addition, the public can track key performance measures – such as jobs created – showing how these projects and programs benefit the City.
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
Neill Coleman (Secretary) (202) 708-0980
Heather Janik (Homeless Services)