Major expansion of street outreach programs

From President & CEO Brenda Rosen

Yesterday, my colleagues and I gathered in Tompkins Square Park for Mayor de Blasio’s press conference on the progress of the City’s HOME-STAT initiative. Now fully operational, HOME-STAT is driving a major expansion of Breaking Ground’s street outreach programs. I’m excited to share details of that expansion.

First, Breaking Ground’s Street to Home program will nearly triple. One of the aims of HOME-STAT is to assist not only those who have been living the longest time on our City’s streets (the chronically homeless) but also the episodically homeless, who are more likely to have lost their housing due to economic factors like a layoff or unaffordable rent. Breaking Ground’s partnership with the City is adding over 140 dedicated staff to help us serve all homeless New Yorkers.

We’ve been actively engaged in hiring and training these new outreach staff over the last several months, preparing teams for the incredibly challenging but incredibly important and rewarding work of helping New York’s street homeless.

Second, we’re adding new transitional housing resources.
As I write you, Breaking Ground’s staff are working on building out a new Safe Haven in Brooklyn. These new units will offer life-saving shelter along with services for some of our community’s most entrenched homeless.

Third, we will open and operate two 24-hour drop-in centers, one in Brooklyn and one in Queens, where street homeless individuals can seek help, whether temporary (showers, meals, respite from heat or cold) or more substantive assistance (meeting with case managers to apply for permanent housing, for example.)

Breaking Ground’s Manhattan Director of our Street to Home program, Bill Hughes, spoke at yesterday’s press conference. His words embody the compassion and tenacity that has driven our organization for 26 years: “Our outreach teams don’t give up.  No matter how far a client falls, or how low they go, Street to Home will be there to lend them a hand.”

With this expansion, Breaking Ground will become the city’s largest provider of homeless street outreach services. Combined with our position as the largest provider of supportive housing, we are a major player in the fight against homeless. Over the past 25 years, we have helped more than 12,000 New Yorkers escape and avoid homelessness. We’re confident that the investment in HOME-STAT and in our programmatic expansion will help us serve even more homeless individuals.

Click here to watch a clip of Breaking Ground’s Bill Hughes’ remarks at yesterday’s event: