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Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI)

Grants to New York Nonprofits for Supportive Housing
Services for Vulnerable Homeless Populations

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

07/24/17 2:00 PM Receipt


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Grants of up to $25,000 annually per housing unit to New York nonprofit organizations to provide supporting housing services for homeless individuals with special needs, conditions, and other life challenges. Funding through this program may be used for rental support and other services that help eligible individuals remain stably housed.


New York has led the nation in affordable housing preservation and construction. The State Fiscal Year 2018 Enacted Budget continues funding to advance Governor Cuomo’s $20 billion comprehensive, five-year plan for affordable and supportive housing to ensure New Yorkers have access to safe and secure housing. The Budget includes $2.5 billion in funding toward the creation or preservation of 100,000 affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units. Of the 6,000 supportive housing units to be created under the Housing Plan, 5,000 will be located in New York City and 1,000 in the Rest of State.

New York will invest a portion of these resources to specifically address vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness. To ensure the maximum benefit of this investment, the State will utilize the existing federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) model that engages localities and not-for-profit (NFP) providers in developing and implementing data-driven strategies to address homelessness in specific populations such as victims of domestic violence, runaway and homeless youth and formerly incarcerated individuals (see section 1.4 for full list of eligible target populations). New York State intends to develop a total of 20,000 units over the next 15 years. As such, New York State is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance the five-year goal of developing more than 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years for persons identified as homeless with special needs, conditions or other life challenges

Each applicant will be required to demonstrate that their proposal is consistent with their most recent HUD CoC data or other local data and have the support of their local CoC or local planning entity. Support from the local CoC or local planning entity does not need to be site specific. However, the support letter should indicate the need for and support of a project serving the proposed population within the CoC’s jurisdiction. CoCs or local planning entities are not expected to prioritize proposals.

Applicants should demonstrate how the proposal meets the gap that is identified in the CoC report or other local data, where available. For those populations not typically included in the CoC, or for those areas of the state without a CoC, the proposal should demonstrate involvement with local levels of planning to ensure necessary local engagement processes have been completed and may include supplemental local, state, and/or federal data.

Sixty-five percent of the scoring of this RFP will be assigned based upon how the proposal addresses locally specific needs. Cost effectiveness and readiness comprise the balance of the elements on which the scoring will be based.

Supportive Housing:

Part of New York State’s Housing Plan includes an investment of new supportive housing resources and services to address vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness. Therefore, the availability of and access to various support services such as employment and training opportunities, parenting education, counseling, independent living skills training, primary healthcare, substance use disorder treatment and mental health care, child care, and benefits advocacy are critical components of any project funded under this plan. The support services provided should be tailored and appropriate to the specific population to be served (e.g., safety planning for victims of domestic violence, treatment for a substance use disorder, etc.). Note that this initiative focuses only on permanent supportive housing as defined in the attached glossary. Transitional and emergency housing beds are not eligible. Staff should have the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to help the head of household set meaningful goals and make progress toward achieving them. The services can be provided on- or off-site (or a combination of both), and either directly by the project sponsor or through partnerships with other community-based agencies (or a combination of both).

Service and Operating Funding Process:

The following describes the focused, transparent and accountable approach that New York State will take in allocating the services and operating funds so that the State’s health and human services providers receive the assistance they need to house the vulnerable populations they serve.

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) will serve as the lead procurement agency for this Request for Proposals (RFP) under the guidance of the ESSHI Interagency Workgroup. Although the OMH is the lead, proposals accepted through this RFP opportunity do not have to be for services to persons with mental illness but should address the range of needs of the populations served by the following agencies. The ESSHI Interagency Workgroup includes representatives from several State agencies including:

-Department of Health (DOH) including the AIDS Institute;
-New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR);
-Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS);
-Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS);
-Office of Mental Health (OMH);
-Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV);
-Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA); and
-Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Twelve-Month Time Frame for Securing Capital Financing:

Linking capital projects with the needed service and operating funding is a stated objective of this RFP. Therefore, applicants are expected to secure capital funding sufficient to fully finance the housing project for which they are requesting ESSHI funding through this RFP within 12 months from the date of the ESSHI conditional funding award. “Securing” of a capital award can be demonstrated by submission of an award letter or evidence of a decision by a granting agency Board (e.g. HHAC, HTFC, HFA). If after 12 months from the date of the conditional service and operating funding award, the applicant has not successfully secured commitments for the capital financing necessary for the project, the Interagency Workgroup has the option to rescind the conditional ESSHI award. Any rescinded award amounts may be added to the pool of available funding and made available in accordance with the terms of this RFP. However, the ESSHI Interagency Workgroup has the option to provide extensions beyond 12 months from the date of the conditional service and operating funding award if the opportunity for application to an uncommitted capital financing source was not available during the 12 month period, if the application is still pending consideration by the capital funder, or for other reasons as determined by the Interagency Workgroup to achieve the objectives of the State’s overall Housing Initiative for supportive housing.

If in the event a capital award is rescinded, any conditional ESSHI award made available through this RFP would also then be rescinded. Any applicant that fails to obtain capital within the 12-month time frame and has its conditional ESSHI award rescinded will be eligible to re-apply for service and operating funding during subsequent RFP opportunities. If the conditional ESSHI award is rescinded, the applicant will be notified in writing of this decision and informed of the ability to reapply during the next RFP opportunity.

No capital funds are available through this RFP. The intent of this RFP is to provide the service and operating funding needed to operate the permanent supportive housing units in an integrated setting that will be developed through capital funding made available through capital funding mechanisms. For those projects that may need capital resources, the separate funding mechanisms include, but are not limited to: Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), other acceptable governmental agencies, private sources, or partnering, whenever possible, with a project developer that has secured or is in the process of securing capital funding. The applicant should clearly state the status and sources of any capital funding that the applicant or the project developer is in the process of securing. Separate capital funding mechanisms from New York State agencies that are available at this time or are anticipated to support this RFP are described below for your information.

Capital Funding Available from HCR:

Projects that plan on applying to HCR for capital financing will have opportunities to apply for capital funding through HCR after receiving a conditional award under this RFP. Applicants seeking NYS Housing Finance Agency (HFA) bond financing will be able to apply for capital funding through HFA’s “Open Window” RFP. Applicants seeking HCR 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing will be able to apply for capital funding through the 2017 Unified Funding Round.

Capital Funding Available from OTDA:

Applicants to this RFP may also be eligible to apply for capital funding through HHAP. HHAP is administered through an open-ended RFP, meaning proposals are accepted for consideration on a continuous basis until it is determined that funds are no longer available for award. The HHAP RFP specifically prioritizes projects to be developed in conjunction with ESSHI. Applicants considering applying for funding through HHAP should visit for additional information and to verify that OTDA is accepting applications. Applicants are encouraged to submit a concept paper for feedback prior to submitting a full application. Note that projects that have received an HHAP award reservation, but have not closed on financing, are eligible to apply under this RFP.

Capital Funding Available from OPWDD:

For OPWDD conditional ESSHI awardees to receive a permanent award, awardees seeking funding through NYS HCR (i.e. Unified Funding RFP, Open Window RFP) must obtain an OPWDD capital award. Interested applicants should contact OPWDD’s Office of Home and Community Living at 518-473-1973 with any questions, or to request a copy of the OPWDD capital award application.

Predevelopment Funding Available from OMH:

For NFP providers/developers that are proposing to serve individuals with a Serious Mental Illness, it is anticipated that there will be predevelopment capital funds available through OMH. Applicants who have received a conditional service and operating award and are in need of predevelopment funds will be eligible to apply to OMH for the predevelopment capital funding as available. This funding will be in the form of a construction grant that will need to be repaid as part of the permanent financing structure contingent upon availability of these resources as identified in Governor Cuomo’s Enacted Budget.

Operating Funding and Funding Availability:

New York State will award service and operating funding for units of housing developed with capital funding to support the needs of the individuals residing in the units.

Funding must be linked to a housing development project that will create new housing units through new construction, the adaptive reuse of non-residential space, or the repurposing of vacant residential units. A development project is permitted to occur on multiple properties, for example construction of infill homes on multiple sites throughout a neighborhood.

Funding through this RFP is available to support the services and operating needs of projects which may be in various stages of capital development. However, funding will not be made available to existing projects, which have already secured service and operating funds through other sources, as a means to enhance their existing subsidies. Applicants are encouraged to seek additional funding to leverage the resources made available through this RFP opportunity.

The applicant should identify the eligible target population(s) that will be served both by population and breakdown of units, and explain how and why the population(s) were chosen, citing documented need for housing and services for that specific population (s) within the local community as cited by the local CoC, local planning entity, or through other supplemental local, state and federal data, and demonstrate how these needs will be met. The applicant should also state in the proposal how much annual funding is being requested for projected services and operating expenses, as well as the number of units the requested funding will support. At a minimum, applicants should propose an operating subsidy sufficient to cover the projected operating costs of the assisted units minus the amount of rent that will be paid by the assisted households.

The eligible target populations to be served under this program are families, individuals and/or young adults who are both homeless (see glossary for definition) and who are identified as having an unmet housing need as determined by the CoC or local planning entity or through other supplemental local, state and federal data, AND have one or more disabling conditions or other life challenges, including:

-Serious mental illness (SMI);
-Substance Use Disorder (SUD);
-Persons living with HIV or AIDS;
-Victims/Survivors of domestic violence;
-Military service with disabilities (including veterans with other than honorable discharge);
-Chronic homelessness as defined by HUD (including families, and individuals experiencing street homelessness or long-erm shelter stays);
-Youth / young adults who left foster care within the prior five years and who were in foster care at or over age 16;
-Homeless young adults between 18 and 25 years old;
-Adults, youth or young adults reentering the community from incarceration or juvenile justice placement, particularly those with disabling conditions;
-Frail or disabled seniors;
-Individuals with I/DD; and
-Individuals who are Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) high cost Medicaid populations (MRT Eligible).

Multiple eligible target populations may be located within a singular housing project.

Eligible Costs:

Any funds awarded to applicants under this RFP must be used to provide rental assistance and services to eligible target populations so that they remain stably housed. Permissible uses of funds awarded under this RFP that meet such purposes include, but are not limited to, providing support for:

-Rental subsidies and other occupancy costs. Funding requested for rental subsidies and other operating costs should be sufficient to cover real estate maintenance and operating expenses attributable to the supportive housing units. Please note, applications planning to seek capital funding from HCR should request rental subsidies under this RFP in an amount necessary to support underwritten rents of at least 50% AMI (noting that tenants will have significantly lower incomes). Housing developers with a commitment of an ESSHI services and operating award cannot access Project-Based Section 8. Also note that individuals living in New York City and diagnosed with HIV or with AIDS are eligible for New York City HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) Services including rental subsidies. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute requires housing services contractors to access these services through HASA for All eligible clients;

-Costs associated with services and/or staff that help the eligible target population remain stably housed, including program supervision, housing counselors or specialists, and employment counseling;

-Services or staff to identify and locate the eligible individuals that need housing;

Eligible services are designed to assist eligible families, individuals and young adults to live independently and remain stably housed. They may include but are not limited to providing the following linkage and/ or direct services which are not funded through other mechanisms, such as Medicaid:

-Primary health services;
-Behavioral health services;
-Housing case management, including eviction prevention services and skills building around tenant responsibilities;
-Counseling and crisis intervention;
-Risk assessment/reduction and safety planning;
-Legal system and court assistance;
-Coordinating access to civil legal services including immigration, family, matrimonial, consumer and housing;
-Trauma-informed assessment and services;
-Public benefits management and advocacy with multiple systems engagement (CPS/ACS, DSS/HRA/DHS, OVS, etc.);
-Employment and vocational training and/or assistance;
-Educational assistance, including GED support;
-Parenting skills development and support;
-Child care assistance;
-Direct provision of child care services;
-Children’s services, including educational advocacy, support and counseling;
-Pregnancy prevention, including counseling;
-Family reunification and stabilization;
-Life skills training and support;
-Health education;
-Transportation assistance for needed services/entitlements;
-Building security services;
-Information on other available services to meet clients’ needs and referral as appropriate;
-Social/recreational services;
-Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) expenses;
-Other like services defined by the applicant and approved by the Contracting State Agency; and/or
-Services or staff to assist eligible families, individuals and young adults in navigating the range of available housing and social service resources, identifying available housing opportunities, and completing housing applications and documentation requirements.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181780

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $25,000 per unit annually in services and operating funding is available through this RFP. The State anticipates providing an inflationary adjustment in subsequent years, subject to available appropriations for and/or statutory authorization of such increases.

At least 1,200 units will be awarded through this second-round RFP. There is no minimum or maximum number of units that applicants may apply for.

Term of Contract:

The contracts awarded in response to this RFP will be for five years from the date of securing the operating certificate or ability to move tenants into the supportive housing project. Subject to the availability of State funding, once awarded, ESSHI funding is anticipated to continue for renewable five-year terms for eligible projects.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This funding opportunity is only open to not-for-profit organizations that are properly incorporated or organized under the laws of New York with demonstrated experience in one or more of the following areas:

-Housing for homeless families, individuals, and/or young adults;
-Housing for families, individuals, and/or young adults with an unstable housing history;
-Housing for families, individuals, and/or young adults who are at risk of homelessness;
-Housing for families, individuals, and/or young adults that have health, mental health, intellectual or developmental disability, and / or substance use disorders;
-Housing for youth/young adults with significant histories of mental health, foster care or criminal/juvenile justice involvement; and
-Providing services and supports to help families, individuals, and/or youth/young adults that have disabling conditions or life challenges as identified in Section 1.4 of the guidelines that require specialized support services to become and remain stably housed.

Service and operating funds are linked to integrated apartment buildings that are developed with capital funding sources that will be made available through separate Capital Initiatives and other capital funding mechanisms. These buildings may be constructed by the same entity applying for the service and operating funding made available through this RFP and/or in partnership with a private or NFP housing developer. The housing developed must be affordable to the homeless population it intends to serve. For most projects, this means that applicants should plan to provide rental subsidies in an amount that ensures full rental payment that does not exceed HUD Fair Market Rate for the area. In calculating rental subsidies, it is expected that 30% of a tenant household’s adjusted income (exclusive of rental subsidy payment) is used. When a tenant has no reportable income, the tenant should apply for all available third party entitlements that they may be eligible to receive.

It is important to note that although a partnership with a housing developer may exist, the official applicant of this RFP must be the NFP organization that will manage the service and operating contract funds, not the housing development partner. Eligible applicants partnering with a housing developer should identify the capital project team (if known). The ESSHI contract will be between the NFP awardee and State Agency responsible for providing oversight of the permanent supportive housing services to the population(s) to be served.

Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Eligibility:

If the proposal will serve MRT eligible individuals, Appendix A (MRT Project Questionnaire) must be completed and attached to the application. Criteria includes serving a high-need, high-cost Medicaid population(s) that includes but is not limited to the following: individuals transitioning from an institutional facility (including state operated psychiatric center, state/voluntary community residence, hospital long- stay or nursing home), or homeless/unstably housed individuals that have a serious mental illness, chronic physical disability, HIV/AIDS, substance use disorder, frail elderly, health home enrolled and/or individuals with other chronic conditions. Projects can be cross- disability and contain more than one population.

Ineligible Expenses:
-Administrative and Overhead expenses budgeted at more than 15% based on the Consolidated Fiscal Reporting (CFR) requirements;
-Expenses considered as non-allowable per Appendix X of the CFR Manual;
-Any costs associated with capital development of the project (e.g. construction costs);
-Any costs associated with emergency housing or transitional supportive housing; and
-Bond Debt service.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar will be held on June 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM to provide an overview of the RFP components. This webinar will be taped and made available on OMH’s website

Pre-Application Information:

Written questions regarding this RFP will be accepted until 06/21/17 at 4:30 PM. No telephone inquiries will be accepted. Answers to all questions will be tentatively posted on OMH’s website by 06/30/17.

-RFP Release Date: 06/05/17
-Webinar: 06/19/17
-Questions Due: 06/26/17, 4:30 PM
-Questions Posted on Website (Tentative Date): 07/05/17
-Proposals Due (must be received by 2:00 PM): 07/24/17
-Conditional Award Notifications (Tentative Date): 09/11/17
-Contract Start-Date: TBD

View this opportunity on Grants Gateway:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Below is the information necessary to access the webinar:
Meeting Number: 641 835 435
Meeting Password: tpqwYd6g

To join online:
1. Go to 2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: tpqwYd6g
4. Click "Join".

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To join the audio conference only, provide your number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call one of the following numbers:

Local: 1-518-549-0500
Toll Free: 1-844-633-8697
Access code: 641 835 435

For assistance:
1. Go to
2. On the left navigation bar, click "Support".

Applications should be submitted electronically through Grants Gateway at:

Carol Swiderski, Contract Management Specialist
2 NYS Office of Mental Health Contracts and Claim Unit
44 Holland Ave, 7th floor
Albany, NY 12229

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York