New York's Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver Housing Subsidy Program Receives National Award

Program Administered by DHCR and DOH Provides Alternative to Nursing Homes

ALBANY, October 22, 2009 - Governor David A. Paterson today thanked the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCHSA) for honoring New York State's innovative program to help seniors and disabled adults out of nursing homes by providing safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing with at-home health services.

NCSHA gave New York's Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver Housing Subsidy Program (NHTD) a national Award for Excellence recently. The program was honored in the Special Needs Housing Category at NCSHA's annual conference and was judged on the basis of originality, innovation, a proven track record in the marketplace, cost/benefit ratio, and measurable benefits provided to targeted customers.

Because the key to living independently is finding safe, decent and affordable housing, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and the state Department of Health (DOH) partnered to create and administer the program to provide rental assistance to NHTD Medicaid waiver participants in New York State. The NHTD waiver program, approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and administered through the Department of Health, offers an alternative to nursing home placement for seniors and disabled adults by helping them transition from nursing home residence or diverting from nursing home placement with at-home services appropriate to their needs. In addition, the State of New York provides a rental subsidy to assure that these transitions or diversions are accomplished by assuring safe affordable housing, which is often a major challenge to maintaining individuals in their communities.

"New York's senior citizens and disabled would prefer to live independently and remain in their communities for as long as they can," Governor Paterson said. "Between the waiver and the housing subsidy over 250 people are living in their community and avoiding nursing home placement. With good housing and appropriate health care services at home, people are leading more fulfilling lives right in their own communities."

Also at the national conference, DHCR received the honor in the HOME Improvement Rehabilitation category for its Access to Home program, which makes improvements and alterations so that people with physical disabilities can live safely and independently in their homes.

DHCR Commissioner VanAmerongen said, "It is truly an honor to be recognized for these two programs that are making a real difference in the lives of people across the state. Nothing is more critical to independence than the ability to live comfortably and securely in an affordable home. Access to Home and NHTD provide alternatives to nursing homes and institutionalized settings for elderly and disabled people who require some support and assistance to live safely on their own."

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said, "The NHTD waiver is the culmination of years of work by the Department, stakeholders and consumers. The approval in 2007 launched activities to create innovations and collaborations that support the needs of the disabled and elderly to either transition or remain in integrated settings. The Department was pleased to engage DHCR in this program, ensuring the necessary connection to housing resources critical to independent living for all. It has resulted in a unique and collaborative effort reflecting the commitment to rebalancing our long-term care system. I congratulate our colleagues at DHCR for working diligently and creatively on this joint project."

NCSHA's Barbara Thompson noted that the Annual Program Awards are the highest program awards bestowed upon state housing finance agencies (HFAs) for their work in affordable housing. "NCSHA commends the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal for outstanding work in the homeownership and special needs fields," Ms. Thompson said. "They were recognized from among HFAs across the country and hundreds of entries for these programs. Both winning programs provide a great example for other HFAs and affordable housing practitioners to follow in fulfilling the mission of providing affordable housing for those who most need it."

Descriptions of all winning programs will be posted on NCSHA's website www.ncsha.org

DHCR produced a video on the NHTD Housing Subsidy Program that included an interview with the first program participant, Mr. Burton Aldrich, to commemorate his experiences and illustrate the value of the program. For information about the program and to view the video, go to DHCR's website: http://nysdhcr.gov/Programs/NHTD/

NCSHA represents the housing agencies of every state in the nation as well as 350 profit and non-profit firms in the affordable housing field.

DOH maintains information on the NHTD waiver program at www.nyhealth.gov/facilities/long_term_care/#nhtd_waiver.