Breaking Ground’s approach to ending homelessness focuses on some of the most vulnerable individuals: those who have been homeless the longest, who suffer from the debilitating medical and mental health conditions, and who have established lives on the street, as opposed to seeking shelter and other assistance. This group is referred to as chronically homeless. Despite being the primary consumers of substantial public resources, the chronically homeless have been consistently marginalized or ignored by conventional outreach, shelter, and housing systems.
Breaking Ground’s pioneering Street to Home initiative, launched in New York City in 2004, has demonstrated that the chronically homeless want and can succeed in permanent housing. In the three years that followed, Street to Home reduced street homelessness by 87% in the 20-block area around Times Square and by 43% in the surrounding 230 blocks of west midtown. Based on this success, the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) adopted Street to Home as a citywide strategy in 2007.
Since then, chronic street homelessness has declined steadily in our city.