Numerous circumstances can cause someone to become homeless, and BRC has developed and operates a diverse array of 13 transitional housing programs throughout the City where individuals can reside as they work to overcome these challenges and find permanent housing.
Each of these programs has a primary focus – such as mental illness, addiction, or employment – but takes a holistic approach to meeting the totality of a client’s needs.
To start, each client receives their own designated private sleeping area, usually in a dormitory setting, with lockable lockers. Showers and laundry are provided, as well as recreation areas and activities. Each program provides three nutritious meals a day on site, prepared in BRC’s own kitchens, with a menu developed in consultation with our medical staff.
Each client is assigned an independent living specialist, or case manager, who assists clients in applying for their benefits, making appointments, managing their health and mental health, preparing for housing, and navigating the many service systems with which they must interact. Importantly, we work with our clients, assisting them as they perform these tasks for themselves, as this improves the odds of their long term success after they leave BRC.
BRC currently operates 6 NYC shelters that can accommodate a total of over 900 individuals; a 6th is in construction.
The 200-bed Assessment Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, serves as a first point of contact with the shelter system for men who have recently become homeless and been referred by the City, along with a special initiative to serve the needs of the local street homeless.
The 200-bed Jack Ryan Residence in Chelsea and the 101-bed Boulevard Residence in East Harlem each serve single men with mental health service needs.
The 117-bed Palace Employment Residence on the Bowery and 200-bed Reaching New Heights residence in the Bronx are designed for homeless men who have jobs or are able to work and need assistance in finding stable employment. These employment services are also available to the women who reside at the 103-bed Lexington Avenue Women’s Residence in Bed-Stuy, which also serves women with a range of health challenges.
Safe Havens and Stabilization Beds
Recognizing that the structure and size of most shelters was unappealing to a significant number of the chronically unsheltered homeless, in 2006 BRC worked with these individuals to design a model of transitional living to which they would be receptive.
BRC’s innovative Safe Havens – the original Bowery Safe Haven, the Lex Safe Haven in Washington Heights, and the Reception Center in Chelsea – all have fewer than 100 beds and operate under a modified harm reduction philosophy: though encouraged, sobriety is not required, rules are minimal, and structure is limited. These low thresholds make Safe Havens an attractive option for many chronically homeless clients who otherwise would stay on the streets and subways. And yet, after a few weeks of sleeping indoors and in a bed, most clients choose make progress on their needs, and eventually move on to housing. For those chronically homeless clients with stable health, and strong independent living skills, but who shun community, BRC offers clusters of private rooms called Stabilization Beds, as part of an initiative we call Moving Home.
Today, BRC’s innovative model has been replicated by our peers, and there are over a dozen Safe Havens throughout the City.
BRC operates transitional community residences targeting formerly homeless clients who are either mentally ill or dually-diagnosed as mentally ill and chemically addicted. Licensed and funded by the NYS Office of Mental Health, these programs provide a safe and supportive environment where residents take part in rehabilitation interventions that will assist them in the attainment of their work, social and community living goals. A variety of services are available on-site including case management, substance abuse groups, medication monitoring, daily skills training and recreational activities. BRC's transitional community residences include the 32-bed Casa de los Vecinos on the Lower East Side, 24-bed Cecil Ivory house in central Harlem, and 48-bed Fulton House in East New York. For those who can thrive in a more independent living environment, BRC offers our Metropolitan Apartment Program, a scatter-site supported apartment program for 87 clients who share apartments throughout Manhattan and the Bronx.