Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
NCS - We Are Transforming Lives

Who We Are

The Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc. (NCS) serves people who are chronically homeless, formerly homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Established in 1982 by religious and community leaders on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, NCS was founded on the premise that homelessness is the responsibility of the entire community.


1980 - 1981: The Coalition Begins

Reverend Hays Rockwell, Rector of St. James' Church, and other community leaders gather in his office to discuss ways of helping the growing homeless population in the neighborhood.

1982: Neighborhood Meal Programs Are Created

Churches and synagogues, including All Souls Unitarian Church, Christ Church Methodist, Church of the Epiphany, Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Madison Avenue Presbyterian, St. James' Church, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Israel, Temple Shaaray Tefila, and Jan Hus Church begin lunch and dinner programs. The coalition formally incorporates as the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc.

1983: The First Program

NCS establishes its first shelter at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House for 19 homeless women.

The "Family of New York Award" is given to Anne Davidson, Celine Marcus, Wolcott B. Dunham, David J. Stern, and Elizabeth Rohatyn by Governor Mario Cuomo.

1984: Day Program Opens

The NCS Day Program, staffed by volunteers and housed in various churches, helps homeless people obtain referrals for essential medical, social, and psychiatric services. The Day Program leads to the creation of the Neighborhood Center in 1989.

1985: NCS Residence Opens at 211 East 81st Street

After a long search for a building, NCS opens a 70-unit supportive residence providing safe and affordable housing.

1987: Tri-Faith Shelter Opens at St. Francis de Sales Church on East 96th Street

Rabbi Ronald Sobel (Temple Emanu-El), Dr. Arthur Caliandro (Marble Collegiate Church), and Father Robert Lott (St. Francis de Sales Church) create a men's shelter to be operated by NCS.

1989: Neighborhood Center for Homeless People (NCHP) Opens at 237 East 77th Street

Responding to the need for a center to meet the basic needs of homeless people — food, clothing, and showers — NCS opens a 24-hour service center.

1994: Interim Housing Program Launched

NCS sets aside four rooms at the Residence to create a transitional housing program for NCHP clients who need to stabilize their lives and develop independent living skills that will prepare them for permanent housing.

1996: East Side Homeless Network Founded

NCS, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, and Yorkville Common Pantry create the East Side Homeless Network (ESHN) to coordinate service delivery to homeless people on the Upper East Side. NCS establishes a Vocational and Educational Services Program, now called OPTIONS, and a Dinner Program Outreach Team as part of ESHN. The success of ESHN serves as a model for other communities.

1998: Lester Waldman Honored

Tri-Faith Shelter is renamed Lester Waldman's Place to honor the late Lester Waldman, a long-time NCS Board member.

2001: New Vistas Opens

A transitional housing program, New Vistas is opened to provide an intermediate residential environment where chronically homeless people can work on skills and increase their resources for living in either permanent supportive or independent housing. The program continues into 2014 when it fell victim to federal budget cuts resulting from the sequester.

2003: Emporium Online (EO) Opens

NCS launches Emporium Online, an on-the-job training program to teach homeless and formerly homeless men and women technology and customer service skills by operating an Amazon Z-Shop selling CDs, DVDs, videos, and video games. Participants identify and pursue vocational and educational goals and receive training in "soft skills," such as punctuality, proper attire and interpersonal skills, which helps them achieve success in all areas of life. While this program was very successful for some clients, we found that our participant base, including many young adults who have aged out of foster care, require more intensive and targeted training than could be offered through the EO model. The program was closed in 2013.

2005: NCS Research Findings Published

In 2000 NCS began researching the psychiatric characteristics of chronically homeless individuals in an effort to better understand their complex needs and improve services for this vulnerable population. NCS's first research study, "Dual Focus Schema Therapy: A Therapeutic Approach for Homeless Individuals" is published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry. Findings from NCS's second research study were published in The Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol.22 (6) in 2008.

2006: Renovation of NCS Residence

After a major renovation, the NCS residence returns to full capacity and provides permanent supportive housing for 65 formerly homeless men and women. The Residence offers a full range of services and programs to enhance independent living, including case management, counseling, vocational education and training, community meals and recreational activities. The renovated building features a rooftop garden and activity room, and a gracious dining room with a training kitchen that can be used to prepare residents for jobs in food service. The renovation is funded by NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the New York State Office of Mental Health.

2006: Transitions Opens

A structured program designed to support men in their journey to stable, independent living, Transitions provides three shared transitional apartments housing up to 10 chronically homeless men with histories of substance use and mental illness. The program provides a structured living environment, case management, vocational services, and referrals for psychiatric services which enable participants to achieve stability and practice the skills needed to live independently.

2007: NCS Outpatient Treatment Program Opens

NNCS opens a licensed drug treatment program, now known as Chance for Change, to treat chronically homeless men and women from NCS's programs. Medical and psychiatric professionals, including addiction counselors, as well as a vocational counselor and licensed acupuncturist, are on hand to support clients in their recovery from substance use.

2008: Neighborhood Center for Homeless People Shuttered

As part of the City's effort to reduce the number of drop-in centers, funding for NCHP was eliminated and the Center's doors are closed for the first time in nineteen years. Over 800 homeless individuals were served by NCHP in 2007 alone.

2009: Louis Nine House Opens

In the winter of 2009, NCS opens a new residence that provides 46 studio apartments for 18 to 25 year olds who have aged out of foster care or are homeless. Residents of this energy-efficient "green" building engage in supportive services geared toward vocational readiness and independent living skills. In keeping with NCS's dedication to sustainable living, the building features a rooftop garden where residents can participate in horticulture training and grow fresh food and flowers.

2010: NCS Opens New Homeless Shelter

With the loss of NCS's drop-in center and three others in Manhattan, the number of people living on the streets and on the steps of our churches and synagogues and using food programs, pantries and other services continues to increase. Addressing the needs of the people on the steps is of particular importance to the host churches.

In response to the desperate need for shelter during frigid winter months, NCS, in collaboration with the Manhattan Outreach Consortium (MOC), operated by Goddard Riverside Community Center, and Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, opens a 12-bed seasonal overnight shelter for men. New York City's Department of Homeless Services provides funding to keep the shelter open from January through June, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church provides space, and other churches and synagogues supplement food and supplies.

Because it has staffing and is professionally supervised, this shelter is able to serve people directly from the streets who are not eligible for volunteer-run overnight shelters. Outreach workers are able to engage the guests, where they are indoors and safe, to participate in other services.

With an end to city funding in June 2010, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and St. James' Church raise private funds and the collaborators, joined by Grand Central Neighborhood Mainchance Drop-in Center, reopen the shelter for winter 2011.

2010: Anne R. Teicher Retires; Dr. Ira Mandelker Becomes Executive Director at NCS

Dr. Ira Mandelker assumes the position of Executive Director after Anne R. Teicher retires as CEO of NCS after fifteen years of dedicated and inspired leadership in providing services to the homeless and formerly homeless of New York City.

2012: NCS Opens Two Seasonal Shelters

With funding from the New York Community Trust, NCS opens two new seasonal shelters at St. Mary's Church on W. 126th Street and at the Church of the Ascension on W. 108th Street. NCS staffs and supervises them as well as providing meals at St. Mary's. NCS collaborates with several agencies on the project: the Manhattan Outreach Consortium-Goddard Riverside Community Center (MOC), the Westside Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH), and Mainchance Drop-In Center.


2012: Community Human Services Information and Referral Program (CHIRP) (formerly, Hospitality Program for the Upper East Side) begins on the Upper East Side

NCS launches a hospitality program on the Upper East Side to bring information and referrals to New York City's homeless and low income residents accessing local food banks, food pantries and community meal programs. The volunteers who operate the programs often report requests for information and assistance by guests, but have neither the time nor resources to respond, resulting in many unmet human service needs.

This new program places a human services "professional" (a social worker) at weekday evening meal programs at pilot service sites: New York Common Pantry, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Church of the Epiphany, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, and St. James' Church. Meal program guests are able to get information and referrals related to public assistance, domestic abuse, emergency shelter and housing assistance, employment and vocational services, HIV/AIDS services, legal assistance, mental health services, nutrition programs, substance abuse treatment and other needs.

In its first year in operation, CHIRP connects more than 600 homeless and at-risk New Yorkers with emergency and other needed human services. At these sites and elsewhere in the community, we distribute over 7,000 "Street Sheets," our pocket-sized local resource directory.

2012: AHA! Aim High With the Arts! at Louis Nine House

NCS launches a creative arts program at Louis Nine House (LNH), Aim High with the Arts! (AHA!). We have found the arts to be an excellent tool for engagement and personal development at LNH, especially with tenants who have shown resistance to employment and personal development programming. Drawing from youth culture and interests, our arts programs foster confidence and social skill development in tenants, leading to success in areas more closely aligned with long-term employability and self-sufficiency. AHA! offers classes in story and poetry writing, painting, jewelry making, Zumba, and yoga, as well as field trips to cultural and artistic venues. A traveling "gallery" features rotating exhibits of visual art, as well as performances of original songs, poetry, and storytelling at community arts and performance spaces.

2013: OPTIONS Vocational, Educational, and Employment Program Adopts Supported Employment Model

While Emporium Online (EO) was very successful for some clients, we found that much of our participant base, including many young adults who have aged out of foster care, require more intensive and targeted training than could be offered through the EO model. EO is closed, and OPTIONS moves toward "evidence-based" supportive employment practices designed for rapid employment placement, ongoing coaching and support for our clients, and increased job placements.

2014: New Vistas Closes

Due to federal funding cuts, our HUD grant for New Vistas is not renewed and the program is closed. This eight-bed transitional housing program is among 17 federally-funded transitional and support-services-only programs in New York City to be eliminated as a result of the 2013 sequester budget cuts. Though New Vistas has closed, NCS was able to work with our residents to find safe and appropriate housing alternatives and continues to providing transitional housing for ten tenants in our Transitions program.

2015: Ann L. Shalof joins NCS as Executive Director

Ann L. Shalof joins the staff as Executive Director in August 2015. Previously, she served as Associate Director of Youth Advocacy Center, an organization serving at-risk and system-involved teens and young adults. She joined YAC after a career in business, as an owner and Chief Executive Officer of Allerton Press, Inc. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, she also holds a JD from Harvard Law School and began her career practicing corporate law in New York.

2016: Chance for Change relaunched

In anticipation of changes in Medicaid reimbursement and a pending transition to managed care, NCS temporarily closed Chance for Change in June 2015 to prepare for their impact. In spring of 2016 a retooled, revitalized Chance for Change reopens in the basement of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Chance for Change provides substance use treatment specifically designed for individuals facing the complex challenges of addiction, often combined with mental illness, and homelessness or housing instability. The program's individualized approach, with a low threshold for treatment, and an empathic, collaborative environment, break down barriers that clients face in more traditional treatment settings.


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