Supportive Housing

As more state and local governments emphasize and prioritize the production of supportive housing in their affordable housing programs, our industry-leading Supportive Housing team has the experience and knowledge to provide strategic guidance in all aspects of the development and creation of these vitally needed resources.

Our Approach

Supportive housing provides affordable housing with on-site services for persons with special needs. Residents often include formerly homeless individuals or families, persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities, formerly incarcerated individuals, victims of domestic violence, and children aging out of foster care. Pairing stable, affordable housing with supportive services enables these individuals and families in need to lead more productive lives.

Our attorneys and advisors are deeply invested in the creation of this vitally needed housing. We’re committed to helping ensure our clients can successfully close on financing to build these developments. We understand the complexities of supportive housing transactions. We have deep experience structuring the financing for these projects, which often requires layering of multiple funding sources—including more conventional sources of affordable housing funding like real estate tax exemptions, LIHTC, and tax exempt bonds—and sources of funding for services and reconciling the competing regulatory requirements.

We work closely with the agencies that provide access to housing capital and social services funding, including:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • U.S. Veterans’ Administration (VA)
  • New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
  • New York State Office for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
  • Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP)
  • New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA)
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Health (DOHMH)
  • New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA)
  • New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
  • New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
  • New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS)

This includes programs such as HUD’s Section 202 and 811 programs, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), HCR’s Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP), New York City’s Supportive Housing Loan program and 15/15 rental assistance.

As one of the few national firms with a dedicated supportive housing practice, we leverage our firmwide resources and cross-industry knowledge in environmental, construction, tax, and more to help our clients navigate the specific legal issues that can arise in these complicated transactions.

Who we work with

We work with some of the largest supportive housing providers in the nation. We represent not-for-profits as well as for-profits in supportive housing joint ventures and partnerships. Some not-for-profit organizations can both provide the services and undertake development of the housing on their own; some prefer to only do service provision and partner with a for-profit developer to access the housing capital funding and oversee the construction of the housing. There are myriad ways to structure these partnerships, and we know how to create the agreements that benefit all parties’ interests.


  • Closed a complex deal in which the U.S. Army, under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) process, transferred a site to the Town of Babylon, which then transferred the site to our client. The team helped the client acquire the site and develop 60 housing units for homeless veterans. The deal involved at least six different funding sources, including 9% LIHTCs from New York State, funding from the State Office of Mental Health, a loan from Suffolk County, grant funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank, an equity investment by the National Equity Fund, and a construction loan from Bank of America, and two forms of rental assistance, including Shelter Plus Care units funded by HUD through the State Office of Substance Abuse Services and project-based Section 8 vouchers from New York State.
  • Represented a joint venture in the financing for a 134-unit supportive housing development, Surf Vets Place, in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The financing for the $69 million project is through tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York State HFA, a subsidy loan from HPD, a grant from NYSERDA, and debt service and capital support from the New York State Office of Mental Health, among other financing sources, which include LIHTCs, inclusionary housing bonus floor area, and construction financing. The project, which will dedicate 82 units for formerly homeless families and veterans, also received an inclusionary housing bonus.
  • Represented a developer and a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit organization in a transaction to finance and construct 200 units of affordable and supportive housing in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The $83 million project is financed by tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA), a subsidy loan from HFA, subordinate financing from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, low-income housing tax credit equity, and operating and rental subsidy from the New York State Office of Mental Health through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). All of the units will be for tenants with household incomes at or below 60% of AMI, and 72 units will be reserved for homeless adults with serious mental health problems as well as individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Represented the developer in the transformation of the former Cunningham Carriage Factory building on Litchfield Street in Rochester, New York, into 71 apartment units, 39 of which house New York State Office of Mental Health clients. The project participated in the Brownfield Cleanup Program, which provided an additional source of equity from the syndication of brownfield tax credits generated from the project. Additional funding sources included LIHTC equity, HTC equity, a permanent loan from the Community Preservation Corporation, and subordinate funding from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation, City of Rochester, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, and a tax abatement with the City of Rochester.
  • Represented developer in a new construction transaction involving three separate parcels in the Bronx that will include 138 affordable housing units, 41 of which will be supportive housing units funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. The $65 million project is financed by tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York State HFA, tax credits, subsidy loans from HFA and HPD, and project-based Section 8 vouchers.
  • Represented a joint venture of a faith-based housing nonprofit and a faith-based health care nonprofit to build 89 units of new construction affordable housing on the site of a nursing home in the Bronx. The transaction including supportive services funding from the New York State Department of Health through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI), as well as a project-based rental subsidy contract from the New York City Housing Authority, tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA), and low-income housing tax credits and subordinate loans through HFA’s Supportive Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments program.
  • Represented the developer in a new construction transaction to develop 171 affordable housing units for low-income elderly and former Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital residents with physical disabilities in New York City. The building was constructed on a parcel owned by Metropolitan Hospital at 99th Street, and included the negotiation of a ground lease with the Health and Hospitals Corporation. The project combined tax-exempt financing, tax credits, and project-based Section 8 vouchers, as well as redirected Medicaid funding and was the first Medicaid Redesign Team project to close in New York State. Affordable Housing Finance named the project the “Best Supportive Housing Project” of 2015. Representation included preparation and negotiation of design and construction contracts.

HUD Makes COVID-19 Relief Funds Available

Affordable Housing Finance | July 28, 2020

This article on the $224 million in supplemental payments that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is making available to owners of properties receiving project-based rental assistance links to New York City Affordable Housing & Real Estate counsel Kathie Soroka and strategic policy advisor Deborah VanAmerongen’s client alert on the topic.

Transactions & Financings

Senior Housing News | July 22, 2020

Nixon Peabody client Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) was included in this roundup of notable deals for closing on the financing of two Boston-area properties that will help the organization with its post-pandemic future. Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Jeff Sacks, and associates Ali Walendziak and Alexander Rosso were mentioned for representing HSL in the Randolph financing. Jeff Sacks and Affordable Housing & Real Estate associate Julie Hancock Stande were noted for representing HSL in the Brookline transaction. All the attorneys are based in Boston.

Addressing the Threat of Homelessness

Affordable Housing Finance | June 23, 2020

In this article detailing progress and challenges that housing programs face in their fight against homelessness, New York City Affordable Housing & Real Estate strategic policy advisor Deborah VanAmerongen provides her perspective on why affordability remains one of the biggest challenges.

The rent: To pay or not to pay? Amid coronavirus, that is the question for business across Chicago

Chicago Tribune | April 01, 2020

In this front-page article in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner David Allswang provided comments that commercial landlords are bracing for a significant drop in rent payments in April amid the coronavirus crisis, citing anecdotal data from commercial property owners in London.

How COVID-19 is affecting affordable housing (so far)

Affordable Housing Finance | March 31, 2020

Washington, D.C. Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner Richard Price shares his perspective on the early impact of COVID-19 on the affordable housing industry, including how the federal government should respond.

Caution required if co-op and condo boards enlist volunteers

Habitat | March 26, 2020

New York City Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner Erica Buckley and counsel Ruben Ravago co-wrote this contributed article, based on their NP client alert, about the key issues condo boards and co-ops must consider before enlisting the assistance of volunteers during a pandemic.

LGBT Affordable Senior Housing Opens in Brooklyn

Multi-Housing News | December 19, 2019

This article about the opening of Stonewall House in Brooklyn—New York State’s first LGBT-friendly affordable elder housing—mentions Nixon Peabody for advising BFC Partners on the development.

Medford nonprofit, Jericho developer open housing for vets

Long Island Business News | November 21, 2019

This story highlights Nixon Peabody’s work on a deal to open a 135-unit supportive and affordable housing development for homeless veterans and low-income families in Brooklyn. Partner Aaron Yowell, partner-elect Dana Roper, and strategic policy advisor Deborah VanAmerongen, all of the Affordable Housing & Real Estate Group in New York City, were part of the deal team. Aaron is quoted in the article.

ATB clarifies tax method for ‘entry fee communities’

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | August 22, 2019

Boston Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner Jeff Sacks wrote this contributed article analyzing a ruling by the Appellate Tax Board on the proper method of determining real estate taxes for senior living facilities that use an entry fee model. Boston law clerk Thomas Jackson contributed to the article.

Getting off the ground

Long Island Business News | March 18, 2019

New York Affordable Housing partner and Chief Innovation Officer Aaron Yowell is quoted in this article, discussing the groundbreaking of Concern for Independent Living’s $25 million, 77-unit affordable housing development in Port Jefferson Station.

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