STATEN ISLAND — The state reissued funds from a controversial mental health facility planned for Port Richmond to build two smaller projects around the borough.
The Office of Mental Health (OMH) announced it's seeking proposals for two supportive housing developments that will mix affordable housing units with apartments for people suffering from mental illnesses using funds formerly allocated to Saint Joseph's Medical Center for a similar use.
"This proposal provides the people of Staten Island with opportunities for safe, affordable, and supportive housing in their own communities,” said Dr. Ann Sullivan, OMH commissioner, in a statement.
“We’ve listened to the concerns of Staten Islanders and worked with community leaders to create a plan which truly addresses the needs of Staten Island residents."
The agency released requests for proposals (RFP) Thursday that call for two developments with 25 units of supportive housing for people suffering from serious mental illnesses mixed with another 25 of affordable units, OMH said.
Both types of housings will give preferences to veterans and Staten Island residents.
The RFPs did not specify which neighborhoods the facilities would be built in, but one was issued for Community Boards 1 and 2 and the other for Community Board 3.
The projects are funded with money that was previously allocated to Saint Joseph's Medical Center to build supportive housing in the borough.
The plans were met with heavy resistance from residents and elected officials and eventually the St. George Civic Association and other groups sued to block the plans in 2011.
Saint Joseph's eventually dropped the plans in 2015 and sold the building to a developer who plans to turn it into more than 30 apartments.
Soon after, Saint Joseph's had plans to build a 77-unit supportive housing facility at 108-110 Port Richmond Ave., which was also met with backlash with Port Richmond residents who said they were over-saturated with social services.
Community Board 1 nearly unanimously voted against the plans.
Saint Joseph's did not respond to a request for comment about the current status of the plans or Port Richmond building.
Elected officials previously against both proposals lauded the new RFPs for decreasing the project's size.
"For over a decade, Assemblymember [Matthew] Titone and I worked with OMH to make sure the RFP answered, and balanced, the needs of the entire Staten Island community," state Sen. Diane Savino said in a statement.
"This RFP includes smaller, subtler building size, a priority for Island resident placement, and an emphasis on our veteran population."