A.G. Schneiderman & The Robin Hood Foundation Announce Program To Help Homeless Families Obtain Permanent Affordable Housing

“Come Home NYC” – Created by Enterprise Community Partners – Connects Homeless Families With Incomes To Affordable Apartments; First-Of-Its-Kind Program Requires No Ongoing Public Subsidy

A.G. & Robin Hood Will Enable Come Home NYC To Lift 300 Families Out Of Homelessness

Schneiderman: Every Family Deserves A Home, And This Innovative Public Private Partnership Is An Important Step Toward Achieving That Goal

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and David Saltzman, Executive Director of Robin Hood—New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization— today announced the Come Home NYC program, a public-private partnership that will match 300 homeless families with apartments they can afford. Come Home NYC is led by  Enterprise Community partners, a national affordable housing and community development organization, in cooperation with New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, Single Stop, and more than 25 private and non-profit affordable housing landlords. With commitments of $1.2 million from Attorney General Schneiderman’s office and $300,000 from the Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board, Come Home NYC will place 300 homeless families in permanent housing over the next two years. Come Home NYC, which began as a pilot program last fall, matches homeless families who earn 30-60% of the area median income with quality homes they can afford. The program requires no ongoing subsidy from taxpayers and is the only program in New York City that matches homeless families living in the shelter system with unsubsidized affordable housing.  

According to a recent analysis, roughly 2,000 families entering the shelter system each year have sufficient income to pay rent for affordable housing, and 28% of all families in shelters have an adult that is currently employed. Studies show that the vast majority of homeless families who receive affordable housing are never homeless again. Attorney General Schneiderman made the announcement today at Two Bridges Towers on the Lower East Side.  Two Bridges Tower is a project of Settlement Housing Fund that participates in the Come Home NYC program. Attorney General Schneiderman and Mr. Saltzman were joined for the announcement by Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners; Alexa Sewell, the President of Settlement Housing Fund; and Ayra Garcia, a formerly homeless New Yorker who moved with her young niece from a shelter into a permanent apartment with help from Come Home NYC.

“Every family deserves a home, and Come Home NYC is an important and innovative step toward achieving that goal,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This innovative public-private partnership places homeless families into permanent housing without the need for ongoing taxpayer subsidies. More New York families than ever before are living in shelters, including families who lost their homes to foreclosure and are working full-time. I am proud to join with Robin Hood and Enterprise Community Partners to help hundreds of New York families find a place they can call home.”

“Public-private initiatives like Come Home are extremely helpful as the City prioritizes efforts to help families in shelters transition back to permanent housing,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City needs all hands on deck in combating our homelessness problem – I thank Attorney General Schneiderman, Enterprise, the Robin Hood Foundation, and participating landlords for their vision and commitment to help homeless families access affordable housing.

“Since 1987, Robin Hood has been focused on fighting poverty in New York City, and we are fully committed to addressing the needs NYC’s homeless families and individuals, said David Saltzman, Executive Director of Robin Hood.  ““Come Home NYC” is an exemplary partnership that leverages resources from the public, private, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors so that working together, we can have a greater impact than working alone.  We are grateful to Attorney General Schneiderman, the City of New York, and Enterprise for making it possible for hundreds of working families to move from shelters into safe and stable housing.

Enterprise Community Partners initially launched Come Home NYC in the fall of 2014, in partnership with Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board and the New York City Department of Homeless Services, more than 25 private and non-profit affordable housing landlords, and Single Stop an award winning multi-service organization that harnesses anti-poverty tools to create economic opportunity for low income families and individuals. The Department of Homeless Services identifies families in the New York City homeless shelters who qualify for Come Home NYC. These families earn an average of $35,000 annually, which qualifies them for affordable housing, but often makes them ineligible for many other programs. Also, because they are working it can be difficult for these families to search for apartments on their own in New York’s tight rental market. Enterprise works closely with shelter case workers to help the families navigate the application and leasing process and has recruited a pool of reputable landlords who have agreed to designate vacant apartments for Come Home NYC. The program provides landlords a guarantee fund of up to $3,000 per lease to off-set approved costs that landlords may incur during the tenants’ first 18 months of occupancy, including missed rent, legal fees and other approved expenses. Single Stop, which has 65 locations around the city, provides families with financial services, benefits screening, tax filing and connects them to services in their new neighborhoods to help establish long term financial stability. At the end of the 18-month period, if a tenant is in compliance with all of their lease terms, any unused guarantee funds are recycled back in to the program to help other families.

More than 11,000 families with children—including more than 23,000 children—were sleeping in New York City’s homeless shelters in May 2015. This is near an all-time high. Numerous academic studies have documented that homelessness has devastating effects on children, making them less likely to perform well in school, more likely to have a physical or mental health issue, and more likely to experience developmental delays or behavioral problems. Also, being homeless as a child makes someone much more likely to be homeless as an adult, perpetuating a vicious cycle. The costs of homelessness to taxpayers are tremendous as well: according to DHS data, the average length of stay in shelter for a family is over 400 days, at a public cost of approximately $40,000 per family.

The funds that Office of the Attorney General is directing to Come Home NYC were obtained through settlements with banks that engaged in misconduct in the mortgage market that contributed to the housing market crash and the foreclosure crisis that followed. In a survey by the National Coalition for the Homeless of direct service providers who work with homeless populations, 79% of respondents reported that at least some of their clients were homeless as a result of foreclosure.

Attorney General Schneiderman has played a leading role in the national effort to hold financial institutions accountable for their role in causing the crash of the housing market. He helped to negotiate a $25 billion multi-state settlement with the five largest mortgage servicing banks resolving allegations of misconduct in mortgage servicing. He was also appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair a federal and state task force to investigate misconduct in the residential mortgage backed securities market prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Together these efforts have secured more than $60 billion in penalties and direct relief for homeowners and communities across the country.

Attorney General Schneiderman directed $100 million from these settlements to create the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which funds a network of approximately 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies across the state to help New York families avoid foreclosure.  HOPP providers have provided free, high quality housing counseling and legal services to more than 40,000 families across New York State. Attorney General Schneiderman has also directed $33 million to fund land banks across the state—nonprofits that help local governments buy up vacant and abandoned properties and either renovate them or demolish them so that the land can be returned to productive use. Ten land banks across the state have received funding to revitalize communities plagued by vacant and abandoned properties that are left over from the foreclosure crisis.

By funding Come Home NYC, Attorney General Schneiderman is continuing his commitment to use funds from the institutions that created the foreclosure crisis to help New Yorkers who were harmed by it.

“Enterprise developed Come Home NYC to respond to the dire need to lift families out of the shelter system who have income.  These families slip through the cracks because they don’t qualify for other programs, yet lack sufficient income to find homes they can afford without a helping hand.  Come Home NYC is a common-sense program that provides hands-on assistance, guarantee funds for landlords, and access to supportive services to help families with income find stable, affordable housing,” said Judi KendeVice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “The $1.5 million from the Attorney General’s Office and Robin Hood, combined with the continued support from the City, participating landlords, and Single Stop, will ensure that Come Home NYC reaches many more deserving New York families.”

“Stable and affordable housing is a critical to a family’s financial security and economic mobility. Single Stop is excited to pilot this program to connect families in need with supports and services in their new community in addition to providing financial counseling, tax preparation, ​and legal assistance to ensure that families in New York have the resources they need to thrive," said Sophia Heller, Managing Director for New York at Single Stop

“Settlement Housing Fund and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council are proud to participate in the Come Home NYC program,” said Alexa Sewell, Executive Director of Settlement Housing Fund. “The investment by Attorney General Schneiderman and the Robin Hood Foundation will go a long way to helping affordable housing providers successfully place homeless families in apartments.  Affordable housing is the critical resource in solving homelessness, and the Come Home NYC program cuts through the red tape that too often prevents families from quickly moving out of shelter and back into permanent housing.”

About The Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board

For more than 25 years, Robin Hood has fought poverty in New York City. It finds, funds and partners with programs that have proven to be an effective remedy to poverty and is a consistent force for good in the lives of New Yorkers in need. Robin Hood created the Housing Advisory Board in 2014 to find solutions to NYC’s ongoing homeless crisis and the need for affordable housing.  The Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board’s mission is to increase the quantity and quality of affordable housing in New York City.

About Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 320,000 homes, invested $16 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.

About Single Stop

Single Stop harnesses America’s most effective anti-poverty tools to create economic mobility for low-income families and individuals. Through a unique one-stop shop, Single Stop provides coordinated access to a safety net worth $750 billion and services provided by 1.5 million nonprofits—connecting people to the resources they need to attain higher education, obtain good jobs, and achieve financial self-sufficiency. Since spinning off from The Robin Hood Foundation in 2007, Single Stop’s outreach and capacity has grown dramatically. By the end of 2014, Single Stop is on track to connect one million households in eight states to nearly $3 billion of resources and services. To achieve this, Single Stop provides community-based organizations (CBOs) and community colleges with training, evaluation, program support, change management consulting, and proprietary technology. These tools empower sites to provide low-income families with wraparound services that include benefits screening, application assistance, case management, tax preparation, and legal and financial counseling. Learn more at singlestop.org.