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Provided by Ben Lockwood and Laura Mascuch | Special to Syracuse.com
Homelessness in Syracuse and Onondaga counties was declining heading into 2020 — a sign that a historic commitment from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to creating supportive housing for the most vulnerable homeless individuals and families was actually moving the needle. Supportive housing, which is affordable housing with onsite social services for the most vulnerable, is the solution to chronic homelessness.
But New York’s commitment, known as the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), is now in jeopardy — just as the pandemic threatens to upend our progress on homelessness in Syracuse. Although Cuomo made the largest supportive housing pledge in history, New York only funded the first five years and 6,000 units in a 15-year, 20,000-unit promise. Despite the challenging fiscal environment, the governor needs to commit to the next phase of supportive housing.