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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.
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.
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.
Dr. Ira Mandelker starts 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.
NCS Opens New Shelter
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.
Louis Nine House Opens
Louis Nine House, our newly constructed residence with 46 studio apartments for young adults who are homeless or aging out of foster care, has just opened in the Bronx. Excited residents have been moving in to the green building and getting to know staff and each other over recent weeks. Several years ago, NCS noticed an increase in the number of young men and women with a history of foster care using our drop-in center, and learned that the Department of Health and Human Services had recently identified the link between foster care and future homelessness as a "high-priority problem". Three in ten of the nation's homeless adults have a history of foster care. In New York State, a thousand youth age out of foster care annually and 36% experience homelessness. NCS created a cutting-edge solution to sever the link between foster care and homelessness. Louis Nine House provides a holistic and nurturing environment where young adults have the best possible chance of moving on to lives of independence and fulfillment.
NCS Publishes Second Research Study
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. In 2005, the results of NCS's first study were published in The Journal of Comprehensive Psychiatry. The results of NCS's second research study were recently published in The Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol.22 (6).
In 2000, NCS partnered with Dr. Samuel Ball, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School, to implement a cognitive-behavioral intervention that would help case managers improve engagement, bolster trust in the professional relationship and increase the housing rate among chronically homeless men and women. Although this intervention seemed promising, the results indicated a prevalence of certain unexpected personality traits and called for further research. NCS funded this second research study, and the third study, funded by the National Alliance on Schizophrenia and Depression, will be published in 2010.
NCS's findings have sparked discussion at the national level as service providers, academic institutions and government policy makers expressed interest in expanding this research to other parts of the country. It is also believed that personality disorders are prevalent in jail and prison populations, and a study is underway to compare our results with those of incarcerated individuals. These populations have a tendency to overlap, as individuals recently released from incarceration are frequent users of shelters and drop-in centers.
Prior to NCS's studies, there had been little research on the full spectrum of personality disorders occurring in chronically homeless adults. A systemic error was to dismiss these bona fide psychiatric conditions as "difficult behaviors." By identifying the prevalence of personality disorders in difficult-to-serve populations, NCS's goal is to better inform policy makers and service providers about strategies for engagement and optimum service delivery models. In this way hard-to-reach and vulnerable individuals can receive the services they need and we can break the cycle of chronic homelessness.
NCS Awarded $25,000 Grant from TD Charitable Foundation
On November 29, 2008, representatives from TD Banknorth Inc. visited the NCS Residence and presented a $25,000 grant to the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS). Photo on home page shows presentation. The funding will be used to help identify and develop sites on which to build new units of affordable housing. This year, the TD Charitable Foundation's "Housing for Everyone" program contributed nearly $5 million to 48 local affordable housing organizations from Maine to Florida. NCS was one of four recipients in the New York Metro area, selected to receive funding out of a total 89 proposals submitted.
"Through our 'Housing for Everyone' program, we've invested nearly $5 million to date to help make shelter —- one of life's basic needs — available to thousands of people in our communities," said Elizabeth K. Warn, President of the TD Charitable Foundation and Executive Vice President of Community Development for TD Banknorth. "We're especially pleased to extend this support to both Commerce Bank and TD Banknorth's markets, and help even more organizations make a meaningful difference in the affordable housing landscape of their community."
About the TD Charitable Foundation
The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank N.A., which operates under the trade names TD Banknorth and Commerce Bank and is one of the 20 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. The Foundation's mission is to serve the individuals, families and businesses in all the communities where TD Banknorth and Commerce Bank operate, having made more than $39 million in charitable donations since its inception in 2002. The efforts of the Foundation are coordinated locally through TD Banknorth's and Commerce Bank's community relations departments and are focused on the areas of economic empowerment, youth development and community support. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation including an online grant application is available at www.TDBanknorth.com or at www.commerceonline.com.
Bronxscape: An Exciting New Green Project
Louis Nine House, NCS's new "green" residence for young adults who are aging out of foster care or are homeless, was lucky enough to be selected as the 2008 project for Parsons School of Design's annual Design Workshop, an intensive 15-week course whereby Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting grad students work directly with a nonprofit client to design and then fabricate a project.
The 14 students have transformed the building's basic green roof into "Bronxscape," 3,500 square feet of communal rooftop space where residents can relax, socialize and even plant their own garden. In line with the "green" design and construction used throughout the building, the vegetation on the green roof keeps the building cooler, saves energy, and extends the life of the roof.
Bronxscape was recently featured in "talkcontract" Contract magazine's blog for the commercial design industry.
NCHP Closes Due to NYC Budget and Policy Changes
Neighborhood Center for Homeless People (NCHP), NCS's drop-in/ referral center at 237 East 77th Street, closed on June 25, 2008, after 19 years of service, due to the City's budgetary and policy changes. We can no longer accept referrals or provide services to the homeless men and women in our community at this facility. For additional information, click here to read a letter from Anne R. Teicher, Chief Executive Officer.
NCS Selected as Semi-Finalist in 2008 New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Award
NCS has been selected as one of ten semi-finalists for The 2008 New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The Awards will recognize four New York City area nonprofit organizations for management excellence and encourage innovation and communication among New York's large and diverse nonprofit community. http://www.nytimes.whsites.net/communityaffairs/programs/nonprofit.html
Outpatient Services Opens
NCS's recently opened state-licensed chemical dependency treatment program is designed specifically to address the needs of homeless and formerly homeless men and women. NCS’s Outpatient Services provides alcohol and drug education, individual and group sessions, psychiatric services and acupuncture daily. Individuals are referred through Neighborhood Center for Homeless People (NCHP), NCS’s transitional and permanent residences, as well as through our partnering agencies, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and Yorkville Common Pantry. Located in Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, Outpatient Services is licensed by The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Fifty-two percent of NCS clients have a history of substance abuse and many are dually-diagnosed with mental illness, creating challenges to sustaining employment and housing. Through offering chemical dependency treatment that addresses the specific needs of chronically homeless individuals, NCS is providing a much-needed support in the path to recovery.