The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced the groundbreaking of a $1.5 million project that will provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans and their families. Housing Our Heroes will include three single-family homes, totaling 15 beds, on Sycamore Avenue in Central Islip.
More than $1.3 million was awarded to the project through OTDA’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP). The remainder of the $1.5 million came from private funding from the project’s sponsor, Concern for Independent Living (Concern).
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, “Supportive housing is vital in helping to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals and their families, especially those who bravely served our country. Governor Cuomo continues to lead the way in the development of supportive housing projects like Housing Our Heroes, which will address an important need among veterans on Long Island.”
The new homes are being built on a plot of land that was donated in 2015 by Suffolk County under the Housing Our Homeless Heroes Act. The legislation was signed in 2014 to meet the goal of ending veteran homelessness in the region. Concern was one of three non-profit organizations chosen by the county to implement new veterans housing and is the first of the three to begin construction.
“Boasting the largest veterans’ population in New York State, Suffolk County is proud to be at the forefront of ending veteran homelessness in our region,” said Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. “Our unwavering commitment to serving our nation’s heroes is the reason why so many veterans have chosen to make Suffolk County their home.”
New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs Executive Deputy Director Joel Evans said, “Our veterans took an oath to serve us in our times of need and now it is our responsibility to serve them. This housing provides veterans with the ability to call someplace home and establish roots in the communities they swore to protect. It is an important step New York has taken to ensure our veterans are cared for.”
Concern for Independent Living Executive Director Ralph Fasano said, “We want to thank Steve Bellone and Legislator [Steve] Stern for making this land available and, of course, Governor Cuomo for providing the funding that will dramatically change the lives of homeless veterans and their families.”
Each home will have three bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, living areas, a laundry room, indoor and outdoor storage and plenty of outdoor space. All homes will be energy-efficient and handicapped-accessible. Residents will have access to supportive services such as case management, service planning, rehabilitative counseling, crisis intervention with 24-hour emergency service and life skills training. Concern will also provide linkages to other services within the community.
Concern for Independent Living operates more than 850 units of housing across Suffolk County, Nassau County and Brooklyn, including 60 HHAP units for homeless veterans. They currently provide housing and supportive services to more than 900 adults and 100 children.
Projects like Housing Our Heroes are part of Governor Cuomo’s $20 billion Homelessness and Affordable Housing Plan, which includes $10 billion dedicated to preserving 100,000 units of affordable housing and $10 billion toward tackling homelessness by developing 6,000 new, permanent supportive housing units. HHAP is a key part of the Governor’s plan.