Shelters

INVESTMENT: $11.1 MILLION | BENEFIT/COST RATIO: 8:1

As Robin Hood and the City of New York respond to record homelessness—a nightly N.Y.C. homelessness rate of 60,000 people, including 25,000 children—Robin Hood is more focused than ever on helping our neighbors avoid eviction and homelessness, and if homeless, find affordable permanent housing quickly.

Eric Weingartner
Robin Hood managing director,
Survival

IMPACT


Robin Hood is the largest private funder of housing programs in New York City. In 2014, Robin Hood funded more than 30 programs that helped nearly 15,000 vulnerable New Yorkers avoid eviction, find emergency shelter or move into permanent housing.

Problem


Homelessness in New York City is at a record high; it has increased 50 percent in the last three years. In addition to the 3,300 adults sleeping on the streets or in the subways, more than 60,000 people sleep in city shelters every night, including more than 25,000 children. And the numbers keep growing: 45,000 households enter eviction proceedings each year. There are numerous causes of the crisis. First, there is a severe lack of affordable housing in New York City. Second, while many homeless people are able to and would like to work, they remain either unemployed or underemployed and therefore can’t afford housing. Lastly, many homeless people are unable to work, for a variety of factors, including young mothers in need of childcare, the disabled and others in need of long-term physical or psychological support. Without sufficient income, they have little chance of finding a place to call home.

Approach


Robin Hood focuses strategically on providing the tools needed to advance self-sufficiency and financial independence. We strive to help people not only survive their housing crises, but move into stable, affordable housing. We concentrate our investments on eviction prevention, shelter and supportive services, and permanent housing and affordable housing.

Here’s how we do it


We work to keep vulnerably housed New Yorkers in their homes and off the streets. In addition to linking supportive housing and health care, we plan to increase our efforts to reduce the exploding shelter population in New York City by expanding two concurrent strategies. First, we will partner with the city to double down on our eviction prevention strategy. Toward this goal, we are in talks with the city’s housing court to pilot building-wide and neighborhood-based plans. Second, we will pilot new ways for adults and families to exit shelter and move into permanent housing.


We fund some of the largest and highest-quality supportive housing providers, including Common Ground, the Center for Urban Services and Community Access. These organizations have long held the belief that providing housing to chronically homeless individuals will improve their health through permanent housing alone. Recently, New York State adopted this concept and now allocates Medicaid funding to provide additional units of supportive permanent housing to homeless people with chronic illnesses. It will document the impact that supportive permanent housing has on the health of residents. The hypothesis is that supportive housing will lower health care costs for this population. In parallel, Robin Hood is working to demonstrate the impact of supportive housing on health outcomes through research, new case management protocols for existing housing grantees and several new projects with the state and city.


Robin Hood created a Housing Advisory Board (H.A.B.) with a mission to increase the quantity and quality of affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. Together with the leaders of N.Y.C.’s real estate community, we are developing initiatives around three main goals:

  • Transform Nycha, N.Y.C.’s 178,000+ public housing system.
  • Create new models for shelter and permanent housing for homeless families.
  • Invest in small, distressed buildings in transitioning neighborhoods, a program that will be implemented by our partners: the City of New York and the Community Preservation Corporation.

HIGHLIGHTS


Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. It is dedicated to the principle that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. The Coalition’s programs—shelter monitoring and grassroots organizing—include crisis intervention, emergency cash assistance and case-management services to prevent eviction of people at risk of homelessness. And it uses mobile vans to reach the homeless where they gather. Its effectiveness stems from its unique role as both an advocacy and a direct service organization to give voice and hope to the most marginalized New Yorkers.


Home to Stay – Managed by the Center for Urban Community Services, Jericho Project and Win

Created in 2010 by Robin Hood, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Services, the impetus behind the Home to Stay (H2S) initiative was this question: “How can we move families from homelessness faster and more permanently?” The H2S model moves families from shelters to permanent housing and transitions families away from supportive services to living independently. Results of a 2013 study showed that H2S clients left shelters faster than non-H2S clients in the control group, were more likely to exit shelters with housing subsidies, stayed out of shelters longer and spent fewer total days in shelters.


Samaritan Village, Inc.

Samaritan Village, Inc., a 20-year pioneer in veteran-specific treatment, administers three residential treatment facilities exclusively for veterans struggling with chemical dependency, post-traumatic stress disorder and other life challenges. It also operates the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program that provides community-based housing assistance and support services for at-risk veterans and their families. These veterans are often among the one-third of veterans who are denied assistance by the Department of Veterans Affairs because they are slightly over income, have been discharged as “other than honorable” or have been part of the Reserves. In 1996, Samaritan Village opened a licensed residential treatment facility for veterans in Midtown Manhattan, and in 2011, it opened the nation’s first residential treatment facility exclusively for female veterans.

Community Partners


Aid for AIDS
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development
Bowery Residents’ Committee, Inc.
Bridge Fund of New York, Inc., The
Center for New York City Neighborhoods
Center for Urban Community Services, Inc.
Coalition for the Homeless
Columbia University Population Research Center
Common Ground Communities Inc.
Community Access, Inc.

Goddard Riverside Community Center
Harlem United: Community AIDS Center, Inc.
HELP/PSI, Inc.
Housing Works, Inc.
Jericho Project Inc., The
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City – Housing Help Program
Providence House
Services for the UnderServed
Supportive Housing Network of New York
Urban Pathways, Inc.
Women in Need, Inc.