New York Governor's OfficeBRONX, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Volunteers of America-Greater NY and the Housing Collaborative have broken ground on Creston Avenue Residence, located at 2382-2388 Creston Avenue in the Fordham section of the Bronx, the first supportive housing development under the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Housing Capital Program.

The project is receiving funds under the state’s $75 million investment in supportive housing, announced by Governor Cuomo in 2012 to rein in costly Medicaid expenditures while more effectively managing the chronic conditions of more than 4,000 high-need New Yorkers.

“The purpose of the Medicaid Redesign Team was to find new innovative solutions that would provide for better care for our patients while better protecting the taxpayer dollar,” Governor Cuomo said. “For too many years costly hospitalizations have unduly burdened the taxpayers without providing the level of care that Medicaid patients deserve, and today’s groundbreaking on the Creston Avenue supportive housing project demonstrates the success of the state’s efforts and the Medicaid Redesign Team’s work to transform our healthcare system to better serve patients and taxpayers. We will continue to work to reimagine state government to do more with less and ensure every dollar of taxpayer money is spent wisely and efficiently.”

In July, a $25 million Request for Proposals was issued by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) for Supportive Housing Projects for High Cost Medicaid Populations which would provide safe affordable housing in conjunction with co-located client services. Projects and development teams were/are evaluated based on the ability to leverage significant public and private resources; coordinate all the elements of financing; and produce well designed, high quality housing which is shovel-ready. Additionally, HCR assessed how the proposed project aligned with the applicable Regional Economic Development Council’s strategic plan.

Within six months, the Creston Avenue Residence has gone from concept to construction – as the first of these transformative supportive housing developments to come on line. The $25 million development will provide 66 homes for high-need Medicaid clients, low-income families and disabled veterans. The building will achieve LEED for HOMES Gold rating, integrate a water management system to comply with New York City’s new Department of Environmental Protection code, and reduce common area electric costs by nearly 90% through the installation of a 38.22 kilowatt solar electric system.

In an analysis of high-need Medicaid beneficiaries, stable housing with ancillary social service support has been found to be one of the most important determinants in continued long term recovery, sobriety, with a more positive prognosis for high-need Medicaid beneficiaries. Costly options for Medicaid patients, including repeated emergency room hospitalizations and inpatient admissions, contribute to runaway Medicaid costs and do not manage the underlying chronic medical, mental health, or substance abuse condition.

The MRT Capital Program creates a template of State interagency collaboration – with the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) providing funding for on-site social services for the tenants with psychiatric disabilities, as well as an annual stipend for the building’s operating expenses; and OTDA providing a $4.4 million loan from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP).

“The Governor has charged State agencies with the mission to work faster, better, smarter, and more efficiently. In keeping with this directive, the State is using funds derived from savings identified by the MRT to finance supportive housing, which provides a more viable alternative,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns. “I congratulate our partners Volunteers of America and The Housing Collaborative for getting this project to a groundbreaking so expeditiously, so that high-need clients, disabled veterans and low-income tenants will have a safe, stable, high quality home which is a critical step to recovery and a productive, meaningful future.”

The project has received: $12.3 million in bond financing and a $375,000 Subsidy Bridge Loan from the Housing Finance Agency, one of the agencies within HCR; $8.14 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $4.5 million in State Low Income Housing Tax Credits provided by HCR; a $2.62 million loan provided by the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team; a $4.4 million loan from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP); a $114,313 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and Section 8 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing tenant-based voucher subsidy for approximately 24 units.

“I am pleased to welcome Volunteers of America and Housing Collaborative’s 2388 Creston Avenue 66-unit new residence to the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This new building will provide desperately needed affordable housing for working families, disabled veterans and others who will benefit from the supportive services to be provided by the sponsors. The innovative financing being utilized for the project reflects the determination of the not for profit community, in this case Volunteers of America and the Housing Collaborative, to develop housing for a cross section of our Bronx Community. I am also pleased that the design subscribes to my environmental green building standards, including the green roof, solar electric system, and water retention measures.”

“Securing safe, affordable, permanent housing is a tremendous challenge for thousands of our city’s residents,” said Richard Motta, President and CEO, Volunteers of America-Greater New York. “For many, the potential for homelessness and other serious problems is ever present, and unfortunately, a likelihood if they cannot access supportive housing, and a case manager to ensure they have the services they need.”

Motta continued, “Volunteers of American-Greater New York is proud that the Creston Avenue Residence has been chosen as the first project to use the funds made available by the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team. The collaboration among so many partners who share our vision will ensure 66 individuals and families will have a beautiful new, state-of-the-art place to call home where they can receive all the support they need to remain housed.”

“The Housing Collaborative is pleased to be a partner with Volunteers of America-Greater New York in the development of Creston Avenue Residence,” stated its Principal, Robert Sanborn. The project combines the innovation of finance to produce a building of exceptional design and energy efficiency while delivering a cutting edge social service model that will benefit New York State taxpayers and ultimately families who will reside at the building.”

Ted Houghton, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Network of NewYork (SHNNY), said: “We’re delighted that the first supportive/affordable housing residence to use Medicaid Redesign funding has begun construction. Hats off to NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), VOA and the Housing Collaborative for breaking ground so soon. And we’re thrilled that the new housing will provide homes to both local and homeless families, at the same time that it will help improve care and reduce spending for vulnerable people who have high Medicaid costs.”

“Chase is proud to partner with VOA and New York State to facilitate the resources necessary to build safe, affordable and supportive housing for residents of the Fordham neighborhood in the Bronx,” said Priscilla Almodovar, Managing Director and Head of Community Development Banking at Chase. “We congratulate all of our partners for being part of the first round of projects to use NYS Medicaid Redesign Team resources for housing.”