Suffolk ribbon cutting

October 19, 2021

New York State Announces Completion of $2.4 Million Project to House Formerly Homeless Veterans in Suffolk County

Association for Mental Health and Wellness Received $2 Million in State Funding for Development

Project Part of Suffolk County’s Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance today announced the completion of a $2.4 million project that built permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans in Suffolk County. Funded primarily through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, the project includes three homes that were built on properties seized by the county and transferred to the Association for Mental Health and Wellness for veterans experiencing homelessness.

The Association for Mental Health and Wellness received $2 million from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program for the project. More than $110,000 in annual operating funds for services will be provided through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. Suffolk County had transferred three properties to the nonprofit organization as part of its ‘Housing Our Homeless Heroes’ program, aimed at ending veteran homelessness. The Association for Mental Health and Wellness renovated a home on one of the properties and constructed new homes at two additional sites.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, “Supportive housing provides not just a place to live but the services needed to help veterans address the underlying issues that have contributed to them experiencing homelessness. I want to congratulate the Association for Mental Health and Wellness and Suffolk County on the successful completion of this project and the positive impact it will have on the community.”

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “These homes will offer formerly homeless veterans living with mental illness the stable and safe supportive housing they need to live and thrive in their own community. I am very pleased OMH could partner with the Association for Mental Health and Wellness and with OTDA to help to make this housing a reality. This is another demonstration of Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment to supportive housing, and to helping our most vulnerable residents on the road to recovery.”

State Division of Veterans’ Services Executive Deputy Director Joel Evans said, “Addressing veteran homelessness is a top priority in New York State. Without the security of safe and affordable housing, it becomes impossible to address the other aspects of transition for veterans and their families. These housing units will now provide a solid base for these veterans to integrate back into their communities. I commend Governor Kathy Hochul’s continued support of all within the veterans community.”

Senator Anthony Palumbo said, “I applaud the state’s continued support of Suffolk County’s veteran population, which is one of the largest in the nation. This $2.4 million will help to ensure that our most vulnerable veterans have access to safe, clean and affordable housing while providing them with greater access to mental health and other critical services.”

Assemblyman Steve Englebright said, “We owe our veterans deep gratitude and much more than simply thanking them for their service. I am very pleased that this project will help those vets who have a difficult time returning to civilian life. This collaborative project between various levels of government will provide veterans with a safe, comfortable residence to call home. I wish to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for seeing this program through to completion."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “With the largest veterans’ population in New York State, we have an obligation to ensure that our heroes not only have a roof over their head, but a safe, steady place to call home. “Through the County’s Housing our Homeless Heroes program, we are working tirelessly to address veteran homelessness on Long Island. I want to thank the State for providing the funding needed to make this project possible and I look forward to working with all of our partners to provide our veterans with the support and services they need.”

Association for Mental Health and Wellness Chief Executive Officer Colleen Merlo said, “Thank you to County Executive Bellone, then County Legislator, now Assemblyman Steve Stern and New York State for taking action to end veteran homelessness. The Association for Mental Health and Wellness is committed to meeting the current and emerging needs of those who have served our country.” The Homeless Housing Assistance Program provides capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, and municipalities to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate housing for persons who are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance. The grants are awarded through a competitive process by the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, a public benefit corporation staffed by OTDA. So far this year, the program has allocated nearly $25 million to eight projects that will create or preserve 213 units of supportive housing and repair emergency shelters throughout the state. Last year, the program provided funding to 30 projects that will add 881 units of supportive housing and repair emergency shelters.

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