Attorney General James Launches Mission-Based Affordable Housing Program 

Up to $1.4 Million in Grants to be Awarded to Affordable Housing Nonprofit Organizations to assist Mission-Based Institutions Considering Affordable Housing Development  

ROCHESTER -- Attorney General Letitia James today announced a new program to support mission-based institutions to plan and develop affordable housing throughout New York State. The Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership will offer up to $1.4 million to assist mission-based institutions, including faith-based religious institutions and nonprofit civic and charitable organizations, that are considering repurposing property for affordable housing development. This partnership will connect these institutions – particularly those with limited resources – with development experts to help inform and guide them through the affordable housing development process. 

“New York is experiencing a true crisis in affordable housing and we must use every tool at our disposal to protect and expand our housing stock,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Mission-based organizations have a long history of providing affordable housing in their communities, but navigating the complex legal and regulatory development process can be challenging and cost-prohibitive. These grants will go a long way in supporting these organizations and making good on our commitment to provide all New Yorkers with a safe and decent home.” 

Mission-based institutions have a history of leadership in developing affordable housing in New York State. Many mission-based institutions are located on or own valuable, underutilized land. With the increasing demand for affordable housing, mission-based institutions without prior development experience are seeking education and guidance about how affordable housing development would benefit their organizations and communities.  

However, the development process can be deeply complex and multi-faceted, especially for nonprofit organizations. From the mandatory feasibility studies required for all housing projects, to structuring deals that meet both the needs of the organization and community, and ensuring legal compliance with respect to housing development and charities governance, hiring experts to advise on these areas is truly cost-prohibitive.  

This program will match affordable housing development organizations with mission-based institutions interested in exploring affordable housing development to assist and support in this process. The nonprofit affordable housing partners will offer three categories of services to the mission-based institutions:  

  • Outreach support both one-on-one engagement, as well as regional educational events to inform mission-based institutions about the program and provide basic information about the development process. 
  • Consultation services to inform mission-based institutions about the steps involved in developing affordable housing projects, such as site specific advice and market studies. Additionally, understanding regulatory requirements, such as the Office of Attorney General’s petition and review process that evaluates the sale or transfer of assets owned by mission-based institutions.  
  • Predevelopment technical assistance to help mission-based institutions in obtaining site specific advice and guidance through the planning process, such as financial analysis, advice on available sources of funding, and hiring experts such as appraisers, architects and engineers to assist in site evaluation. Additionally, legal assistance to help in hiring of attorneys to review deeds, select development partners, and understand regulatory requirements of affordable housing development and the Office of Attorney General’s financial requirements for nonprofits.  

Selected organizations will support mission-based institutions in three regions across New York State: 

  • Western New York (Erie and Monroe Counties) 
  • Central New York (Onondaga, Oneida and Broome Counties); and  
  • Capital Region and Hudson Valley (Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Rockland, Orange and Westchester Counties) 

The OAG will release a Request for Applications today to nonprofit affordable housing organizations on Monday, May 20. The OAG expects to award up to $1.4 million to organizations over a 2-year period. Applications are due June 28th and awards are expected to be announced mid-July. To obtain more information about eligibility for the RFA and learn how to apply, please visit  the NYS Contract Reporter and search 19-002 or the fiscal procurement page on the OAG website after 9 AM on Monday. 

The funds for these grants are a result of the 2013 Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group’s $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase for their role in the mortgage crisis. New York received more than $1 billion as part of that settlement.  

Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing initiative by the Attorney General’s Office to support mission-based institutions and affordable housing throughout New York State. The Attorney General’s Office in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners is developing programs to support mission-based institutions interested in affordable housing development in New York City and on Long Island. 

“Quality housing should be an undeniable right,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. Every person in our community should have the opportunity to live in a home they can be proud of. I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for investing in our neighborhoods and developing partnerships with mission-based organizations to increase the availability of affordable housing for those who need it most. Thanks to her efforts, we are one step closer to our goal of creating more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our residents.”

“Although New York State has a long and proud history of assisting people in need of affordable housing, the demand is still great and many New Yorkers are still without access to affordable housing,” said Assemblymember Jamie Romeo. “That is why I am pleased that Attorney General Letitia James is addressing the demand for affordable housing through the establishment of the Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership pilot program. Through this program, mission-based institutions will have access to the resources they need as they consider providing affordable housing. I am extremely thankful to Attorney General James for making affordable housing a priority. Our mission-based institutions and our community will certainly benefit from this pilot program.”