HSI is a 27-year old provider and developer of permanent, supportive housing, which began as a demonstration project of the Vera Institute of Justice in the 1980s. Cecil Hotel was HSI’s first, and one of the Nation’s premier, supportive housing programs and began operations in 1988 with 89 units for homeless men and women coming out of the NYC shelter system. Next, with the AIDS epidemic hitting NYC hard, HSI developed one of the first dedicated nursing facilities in NYS for people with the virus. The crisis demanded more, however, and in 1994 we opened the Narragansett. Located in the Upper West Side, the Narragansett is a 100 unit mixed-use building that has a set aside for those living with the virus, in addition to serving low and middle-income households in rent stabilized apartments.
In the decade that followed HSI developed over 2,000 units of low-income and special needs homes in 17 projects throughout the tri-state area – providing financing, development, and project management expertise to other not-for-profit groups. In 1996 the agency was asked to take ownership of Kenmore Hall, a 327-unit facility that had been seized in the largest asset forfeiture by the federal government to date. US Marshals appealed to the City of New York for a non-profit provider who could refurbish and provide services to low-income, special needs New Yorkers; the program has been recognized on a national scale, receiving a 1999 Best Practices Award from HUD and was also a finalist for a Fannie Mae Foundation Maxwell Award for Excellence.
In addition, HSI operates a Scatter Site I Program for families and individuals living with special needs in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and in 2011 increased that initiative fourfold - from five families and 15 singles to 25 families and 75 singles. Families with children are increasingly represented in the homeless population. HSI, as always, looks to meet both the emerging and constant needs of the homeless in our city. We know that permanent supportive housing works to serve those at greatest risk and that increasing and safe-guarding the affordable housing stock in NY is essential to ending homelessness.