Innovation

To Better Serve Our Clients

BRC is characterized by a culture of constant inquiry, which leads to true innovation.


We have a successful track record of identifying emerging needs in the community and creating effective solutions.

At the core of BRC’s approach is tailoring our services to the unique needs of each individual rather than asking our clients to conform to us. With an analytical management approach and focus on needs-based innovation, BRC continually seeks out opportunities to address the unmet needs of homeless New Yorkers.

Idea

In the idea stage, BRC identifies where gaps exist in the way homelessness, addiction, and mental health services are provided to New York City residents in need. 

The market for low-income housing has disappeared; doing “better and more” of what we already did actually made things worse, increasing demand without impacting supply. Even when clients did all the right things, they were still unable to get the housing they needed to get out and stay out of the shelter system.For example, two years ago we realized that our approach to finding housing for our shelter clients no longer reflected reality in which our clients operated.

With this insight, we developed an entirely new model for building rental housing that is affordable to very low-income New Yorkers without relying on any public rental subsidy. 

When taken to scale, this model will not only give our homeless clients a permanent home, but will help grow the stock of critically needed affordable housing. The model will also benefit the city, which relies heavily on nonprofit service providers to carry out a coordinated response to the crisis of homelessness. 

Our partners in city and state government, and in philanthropy, have embraced and funded our innovation and named it Homestretch.

In September of 2015, BRC broke round on the first home stretch project, and 233 Landing Road in the Bronx. 

Pilot

The second stage of innovation is the pilot phase. During this phase a solution has been defined to a specific problem and BRC tests it through a pilot program. That pilot program is then monitored, evaluated, and improved over time until it is a mature program that can be replicated at BRC or within other New York City agencies.

Thousands of homeless men and women come to BRC's Chemical Dependency Crisis Center (CDCC) each year seeking recovery from chemical addiction, detoxification, medical and supportive services. To better meet those needs, in 2015 BRC launched a new model that offers two levels of care in one program: medically monitored withdrawal, our pre-existing services that involve a relatively low level of medical oversight; and medically supervised withdrawal, which uses medication to treat advanced chemical addiction.

This innovative mixed model was designed by BRC in response to an increasing number of clients who asked for help, but were too sick to be admitted under the level of care we were originally licensed to provide. Rather than saying no to these clients, we adapted CDCC by adding an additional level of care to the program. Today, CDCC serves hundreds of clients who in the past had to go to the hospital, providing an alternative to hospitals that reduces barriers to treatment and provides a more integrated service environment that results in greater success linking them to ongoing treatment – all at a lower cost than hospital-based treatment.

Over the next few years, we will be evaluating and improving our CDCC pilot as it matures, with the intent of making the program replicable in other settings.

Replication

The final stage of innovation is replication. Once a pilot program has matured and proved to be effective, we work to make that program replicable throughout New York City agencies — this allows us to improve service delivery across our entire field.

For example, our innovative Safe Haven Model started as a 19-bed pilot program in 2006, and has since grown to over 800 Safe Haven beds throughout our city, including the 200 Safe Haven beds provided by BRC. Based on the quantified success of the program, this barrier-free housing model has been established as the City’s gold standard for helping the most “service resistant” homeless individuals off the street, contributing to a more than 50% reduction in the city’s unsheltered homeless population.

Learn more about our Safe Haven program and support our continued work in this area by Investing in BRC.

From the Desk of Muzzy

What distinguishes BRC is not what we do, but how we do it.

Muzzy Rosenblatt,
CEO & President