Heads Up in NYC: Gov. Announces Availability of $7.2 Million
for Residential Step-Down Housing

December 15, 2022

Subject: Governor Announces Availability of $7.2 Million for Residential Step-Down Housing in New York City!

For Immediate Release: 12/15/2022 GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL


Application Sought to Develop 60 Units of Housing Offering Recovery-Oriented ‘Step-Down’ Services After Inpatient Hospitalization 

Units to Support Work of Mobile Services and Transition to Home Units; Serve Individuals Experiencing Homelessness Living on the Streets and Subway System 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the availability of $7.2 million to develop short-term transitional residences in New York City to help formerly unhoused individuals make the transition from inpatient care into units with services that are designed to foster living in independent settings. Administered by the state Office of Mental Health, the state funding will help establish four Community Residential Step-Down programs and a total of 60 units of housing to serve individuals living with mental illness on the streets or in the subway system. 

“No New Yorker should be left to reside in the subway system or on the streets, especially not vulnerable individuals living with mental illness,” Governor Hochul said. “These new housing facilities will provide unhoused individuals with access to services they can rely on to ensure they have the skills to live successfully and independently.” 

The Community Residential Step-Down programs will be established at four locations in New York City, and each include 15 units of transitional housing with associated mental health services.  Individuals admitted to this program will be connected to wraparound, mobile services designed to address their mental health needs and other supports necessary for them to transition into successful community living and permanent housing. 

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “This new step-down residential program will help people living with mental illness who had been homeless transition to safe and stable long-term housing. The program is an important transitional step between inpatient care and the independent living provided by supportive housing and other community-based housing options.” 

These programs will be a vital component of the continuum of care for unhoused New York City residents with mental illness and complement the Transition to Home units, the psychiatric center-based inpatient treatment program established earlier this year. The first Transition to Home unit opened at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center last month, with a second expected to come online early next year. 

Staffed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, and other clinical and non-clinical personnel, the Transition to Home units are aimed at providing an intensive focus on life management skills for individuals experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. These facilities will help patients to gain functional skills, and work with other agencies to enhance engagement in their mental health care. 

Patients being discharged from the intensive inpatient facility will be able to utilize the Community Residential Step-Down programs for transitional, short-term residence and to further develop the support and skills needed to move to more independent housing. Individuals will also receive help securing benefits and community-based services to ensure long-term success and recovery. 

Individuals utilizing the new residential step-down programs will also receive assistance from other OMH-supported services, including the Safe Options Support teams, Assertive Community Treatment teams or Intensive Mobile Treatment teams. These teams also provide services and support to unhoused individuals living on the street, in transportation hubs, safe havens, drop-in centers and homeless shelters.

The Office of Mental Health will provide operating funding for the four Residential Step-Down programs, in addition to capital funding once sites are identified. Today’s announcement builds on other efforts to provide safe housing to unhoused individuals living on the street and in the subway system in New York City.  

Earlier this week, Governor Hochul announced the availability of up to $16 million in annual state funding through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative to operate 500 units of scattered-site housing with support services. These units will take referrals from the city’s Safe Options Support teams with a goal of placing unhoused individuals into housing where they can live in an independent setting and fully integrate into their communities.