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 Episcopal 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 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.
1992: Volunteer Program Revitalized
NCS redesigns its Volunteer Program to provide greatly needed auxiliary services such as computer skills training, literacy tutoring, recreational activities, and field trips. Cornell University Medical Students begin conducting educational courses on AIDS prevention at the Tri-Faith Shelter.
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.
2005: NCS Research Findings Published
NCS’s first research study "Dual Focus Schema Therapy: A Therapeutic Approach for Homeless Individuals" published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry. NCS begins additional research studies at three other drop in centers.
2006: Renovation of NCS Residence Completed
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. This renovation was 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.
2007: NCS Outpatient Treatment Program Opens
NCS opens a licensed drug treatment program to treat 15-20 chronically homeless men and women daily from NCS’s programs. Medical and psychiatric professionals, including addiction counselors, as well as a vocational counselor and licensed acupuncturist, will be on hand to support clients in their recovery from substance abuse.
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 were closed for the first time since opening nineteen years ago. Over 800 homeless individuals were served by NCHP in 2007 alone.
NCS Publishes Second Research Study
Findings from NCS's second research study were published in The Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol.22 (6). Since 2000 NCS has been researching the psychiatric characteristics of chronically homeless individuals in an effort to better understand their complex needs and improve services for this vulnerable population.
2009: Louis Nine House Opens
In Winter of 2009, NCS opened a new residence that provides 46 studio apartments for 18 to 25-year olds who have aged out of foster care or who are homeless. Residents of this energy-efficient "green" building engage in supportive services geared towards 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.
With the loss of NCS's drop-in center and three others in Manhattan, the number of people living on our streets, on the steps of our churches and synagogues, and using food programs, pantries and other services has and 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 these frigid winter months for this group and others on the streets, NCS, in collaboration with the Manhattan Outreach Consortium (MOC) operated by Goddard Riverside Community Center and Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, opened a 12-bed overnight shelter for those men in January. New York City's Department of Homeless Services is providing funding to keep the shelter open from January through June, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church is providing space, and other churches and synagogues are helping to supplement food and toiletries.
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, including a move from the streets to the transitional or permanent housing provided by NCS and other organizations. Together with MOC and our community partners, we will be seeking other alliances to help continue operating this shelter after June.
2010: Dr. Ira Mandelker begins as new Executive Director at NCS
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS) is proud to announce that Dr. Ira Mandelker has accepted the position of Executive Director effective October 25, 2010. Dr. Mandelker joins us as current Chief Executive Officer, 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.
NCS Board President, David Oliver, states “I take great pride in the accomplishments of NCS, especially under Anne Teicher’s leadership. Now I am looking forward with great anticipation to the work and challenges that lie ahead with our new Executive Director, Dr. Ira Mandelker. Dr. Mandelker’s decision to come on board, in my view, reflects the quality of NCS as an organization and the importance of NCS’s mission. I couldn’t be more excited for NCS and its future.”
Dr. Mandelker joins NCS from HATAS, The Homeless & Travelers Aid Society of the Capital District in Albany where he has served as Executive Director for the past ten years. HATAS is the central intake, assessment, and referral point for the Albany County homeless shelter system, and provides homelessness prevention, housing, employment, and mental health services to homeless and at-risk Albany County residents. Dr. Mandelker is past-chair of the Albany County Coalition on Homelessness, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Albany County Plan to End Homelessness, the Executive Committee of the United Way 211 Northeast Region, the Albany County Housing Trust Fund Task Force, the Albany County Reentry Task Force, The Code Blue Albany Committee, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Boards of Albany and Schenectady Counties. Prior to joining HATAS, Dr. Mandelker was Associate Director at Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services, a New York City drop-in center providing human services, employment, and housing opportunities to homeless single adults.
2011: NCS Re-opens Homeless Shelter
City funding ended for our 12-bed men’s shelter on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in June 2010. Without resources, our shelter closed. This year, with winter approaching and no City funding available, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and St. James’ Church sponsored a November fundraising event, raised the money privately, and the collaborators again came together (along with Grand Central Neighborhood Mainchance Drop-In Center which provides housing services) to re-open the shelter. In an unusually harsh and snowy New York winter, we have been providing not just shelter – but the warmth of human caring, food, showers and other donated amenities to people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. Seven have already been housed this year. Using a “Housing First” approach, we expect that they will be more amenable to other needed services, and hope that they will leave their homelessness behind.
2012: NCS Opens Two Seasonal Shelters
With funding from the New York Community Trust, NCS opened two new seasonal shelters this January: St. Mary’s Church on W. 126th Street and the Church of the Ascension on W. 108th S Street. NCS has staffed the shelters and will be supervising them as well as providing meals at St. Mary’s. NCS is collaborating with several agencies on the project.
- The Manhattan Outreach Consortium-Goddard Riverside Community Center (MOC) is referring guests and providing case management and housing referrals for those who are chronically homeless.
- The Westside Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH) is providing meals for Ascension guests at Valley Lodge, their nearby residential program. They will also be a conduit for homeless guests who are referred by Upper West Side-W. Harlem churches, and will offer case management and housing referrals to Ascension guests who are 50 years and older with medical and/or mental health issues.
- Mainchance Drop-In Center will offer case management and housing referrals to those who do not qualify for the MOC or Valley Lodge programs. They will also be providing the beds, linen, and laundry service.
2012: Hospitality Program for the Upper East Side (HP-CUES)
This April, NCS launched a hospitality program on the Upper East Side (HP-CUES) to bring information and referrals to New York City's low income residents utilizing 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 will place a human services "Concierge" (a social worker) at weekday evening meal programs at our pilot service sites: Yorkville Common Pantry, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Church of the Epiphany, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, and St. James' Church. Meal program guests served by HP-CUES will be 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 treatment, nutrition programs and substance abuse treatment to name just a few.
Many of the meal and hospitality programs on the Upper East Side were started in the early 1980's by faith-based groups and were created alongside the formation of NCS. NCS is proud to continue our partnership with our neighbors to help the most vulnerable in our community.
2012: AHA! Aim High with the Arts! at Louis Nine House
In the fall of 2012 we launched a new creative arts program at Louis Nine House (LNH) called 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 have fostered 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. NCS is establishing a traveling “gallery” with rotating exhibits of visual art, as well as performances of original songs, poetry and storytelling, at community arts and performance spaces.
2013: Emporium Online (EO) Closes
Based on analysis and strategic planning for our vocational development work, we have decided to close our technology-based vocational training program Emporium Online (EO), where clients operated an online Amazon z-shop. While this program was very successful for some of our clients, it never achieved its goals as a self-sustaining business operation and we have found that our current participant base, including many young adults who have aged out of foster care, require more intensive and targeted training than we are able to offer through the EO model. We are adopting “evidence-based” supportive employment practices designed for rapid employment placement, ongoing coaching and support for our clients, and increased job placements.
2013: HP-CUES is now CHIRP
NCS’s Hospitality Program for the Upper East Side (HP-CUES), launched in August 2012, has a new look and a new name. The Community Human Services Information and Referral Program (CHIRP) provides information, referral and crisis intervention services to homeless men and women and those and at risk of homelessness at five free meal programs in Manhattan: Church of the Epiphany, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York Common Pantry, and St. James' Church. Last year, CHIRP connected 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 distributed over 7,000 “Street Sheets,” our pocket-sized local resource directory.
2014: New Vistas Closes
Due to federal funding cuts, our HUD grant for New Vistas will not be renewed and the program will close on April 30, 2014. One of two NCS transitional housing programs, New Vistas provided an intermediate residential environment where chronically homeless people worked on skills and increased their resources for living in either permanent supportive or independent housing. Our eight-bed 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. As we prepare to close New Vistas, we are working with our residents to find safe and appropriate housing alternatives. Following the closure we will continue providing transitional housing for ten tenants in our Transitions program.