The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.
Every day, the Coalition for the Homeless helps more than 3,500 men, women and children suffering in extreme poverty. Our 11 frontline direct service programs provide emergency food and clothing, eviction prevention, crisis services, permanent housing, job training and youth programs to address immediate needs while helping individuals and families overcome long-term barriers to employment and stability. Here is a summary of each program’s recent accomplishments:
- The Grand Central Food Program delivered between 800 and 1,200 hot, nutritious meals per night — every night of the year — to hungry men, women and children on the streets of NYC.
- Our Eviction Prevention Program saved more than 800 households from the trauma of homelessness — keeping them in their own homes and out of the shelter system.
- Our Crisis Intervention Program, a barrier-free, walk-in program where homeless and poor New Yorkers can receive immediate assistance with almost any issue, aided roughly 10,000 men, women and children in crisis.
- The Client Advocacy Program helped 131 homeless adults with physical or mental disabilities – who had been languishing, all but forgotten, for years on the streets or in shelters – access critical disability benefits and find permanent supportive housing (affordable housing with onsite services).
- The Emergency Mail Program gave roughly 1,500 homeless New Yorkers a secure, reliable and discreet mailing address where they could receive private mail as well as important documents from government agencies, potential employers and social service organizations.
- The Bridge Building served as a stable home and sanctuary for 14 families who created a welcoming, close-knit community to recover from the shared trauma of homelessness.
- Coalition Houses provided permanent housing and supportive services to 38 homeless single adults in three beautiful landmarked brownstones in Manhattan.
- Our Scattered Site Housing Program gave 53 single adults and 19 families living with HIV/AIDS the dignity and security of safe, permanent housing.
- The First Step Job Training Program offered 196 homeless and low-income women the skills, experience and confidence needed to find living-wage jobs.
- Camp Homeward Bound, the nation’s first summer sleep-away camp designed specifically for homeless kids, welcomed 300 children to our pristine lakefront campsite in Harriman State Park.
- Bound for Success provided after-school tutoring and recreation as well as a summer day-camp to 54 homeless girls and boys living in a family shelter located in Brooklyn.
The Coalition’s Advocacy team continued to utilize impact litigation, research and analysis, grassroots organizing, shelter monitoring and public education to protect the rights of all homeless and at-risk men, women and children in our city and fight for the proven, housing-based solutions to homelessness that will bring an end to this shameful crisis once and for all.
Below are some of our key advocacy victories in FY17.
- Supportive Housing: Supportive housing is proven to break the cycle of homelessness for people with mental illness and other special needs by pairing the stability of a permanent home with onsite support services. As the number of available supportive housing units in New York City dwindled to almost nothing, the Coalition led the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing to secure historic commitments from the City and State to fund a total of 35,000 new units of supportive housing statewide. However, the State’s funding had been needlessly held up for more than a year. The Coalition kept pressure on the State for months through lobbying, petitions and weekly rallies (35 in all) outside of Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan offices. In April 2017, the Governor finally released $1 billion to pay for the first 6,000 supportive housing units – a hard-fought victory for homeless New Yorkers.
- Right to Counsel: Following more than two years of persistent advocacy from the Coalition and our partners in the Right to Counsel NYC campaign, in February 2017 Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito announced their support of legislation mandating universal access to legal representation for low-income tenants in housing court. The historic victory will level the playing field in housing court, where currently most landlords have the benefit of an attorney while the vast majority of tenants are left to navigate the confusing process alone. Universal access to counsel, which will be phased in over five years, will provide a vital protection for countless tenants who are on the brink of homelessness – and will serve as a model for other cities nationwide in rectifying a longstanding imbalance in housing court.
- Shelter Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Although a significant portion of homeless New Yorkers have disabilities, much of the shelter system overseen by the Department of Homeless Services is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Coalition for the Homeless worked with the Legal Aid Society and the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York to bring a lawsuit, Butler v. City of New York, against the City in 2015 to address this glaring failure. In May 2017, the City finally agreed in a class-action settlement to ensure that homeless shelters and intake offices in all five boroughs are accessible to people with disabilities. The Coalition and Legal Aid will closely monitor the implementation of the settlement to protect the rights of homeless New Yorkers with disabilities.
The Coalition for the Homeless operates without an endowment, dedicating all of its funding each year to pursuing its mission of serving homeless New Yorkers. The deficit in FY17 was primarily a result of depreciation of assets, the timing of the some institutional funding changing and some expense reallocations.
View our Leadership List.