Finding and keeping an affordable home is a challenge for any New Yorker, especially for those with limited incomes, health challenges and disabilities, and limited histories of stable tenancy. With demand outstripping supply, our clients have few options.
So to improve the odds for the people we serve, BRC became a benevolent developer and manager of housing to meet their needs, creating caring and supportive communities. Today, over 550 households call BRC their permanent home: single adults and families with children, most previously homeless but some also needing an affordable home to avoid homelessness. They have leases and pay rents they can afford; and if a crisis occurs, we understand, and we help. We work out a plan to resolve the crisis, and to catch up on back rent. It’s a model known as Supportive housing, and we are proud to have been one of its pioneers.
Just as our clients’ needs and desires vary, so do our housing options:
Old Style SRO (Single-Room Occupancy) Apartments
BRC has been developing housing for nearly a quarter century. When we started, the standard model was a private furnished room, with several rooms sharing a private bathroom and kitchen. This model was attractive to those still working on their independent living skills, and insured that core services were maintained by BRC. It also countered the risk of isolation and enabled socialization. These housing programs also offered on site case management services, community rooms, laundry facilities and optional communal meals.
BRC has several such housing programs: Clyde Burton House on the Lower East Side, a 33-unit SRO for formerly homeless men and women at least 55 years of age; Los Vecinos, also on the Lower East Side, a 35-unit SRO for formerly homeless men and women, living with HIV or AIDS, or mental illness; and the Palace SRO on the Bowery, a 24-unit program for those graduating from shelters.
More recently, BRC has developed housing where each unit is a full apartment, with its own kitchen and bath inside the living unit. Still, like the SROs, we strive to build community, and offer staff and spaces for activities, communal meals, socialization and case management.
These residences include: the 45-unit (all studios) Glass Factory on the Lower East Side, serving formerly homeless men and women with HIV or AIDS, which won the NY Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Award for historical conservation; and Liberty Homes in East New York, a newly constructed 46-unit building comprised of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments serving disabled and formerly homeless single adults, and low income families
Scatter-Site Supportive Housing Apartments
Through our HomePlus program, BRC leases and maintains apartments in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, that combined are home to over 350 formerly homeless men and women with a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse.