Joint Effort by Alliance, Trinity, and Bowery Group Shepherds Lower Manhattan Homeless into Housing
As a result of a partnership between the Downtown Alliance, Trinity Church, and the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC), some 100 fewer people are sleeping on the streets of Lower Manhattan since the start of this year, having been guided into shelters or transitional housing.
Although the Alliance has provided homeless outreach services for more than a decade, this benchmark is a significant uptick over recent years. Since 2018, the average for each full calendar year has been 72 such placements. With the fourth quarter of this year not beginning for another week, the program may come close to doubling that tally for 2023.
“This is an important milestone, and speaks to our success this year in moving vulnerable New Yorkers off the streets and into shelter,” said Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “We are proud to have helped these men and women obtain the services they need and greatly appreciate the help of our partners at Trinity Church and the Bowery Residents’ Committee.”
The Alliance first partnered with Trinity and BRC 14 years ago to serve the unhoused in Lower Manhattan, by augmenting the work of the City’s Department of Homeless Services. Trinity Church participates by providing $175,000 (to fund 50 percent of the program’s cost), while BRC conducts outreach, advocacy, and other services throughout the Downtown Alliance’s footprint (roughly Lower Manhattan south of Chambers Street, between the East River and West Street).
The services provided by this partnership include access to stabilization beds, public and private shelters, drop-in centers, and hospital care. In recent years, this process has resulted in several hundred individuals being placed in permanent homes. According to the Alliance, “a confluence of factors has led to the increase in placements, including sustained outreach to individuals over months and sometimes years, shifts in the population of the unhoused, and changes in the perception of the supportive services offered.”
“At Trinity Church, we are committed to helping those in need—particularly those who are food insecure or unhoused in our own backyard,” said Rev. Phil Jackson, the Rector of Trinity Church. “BRC and the Downtown Alliance are doing wonderful work by reaching and advocating for our housing-insecure neighbors and securing housing placements. There is great need, and by working together we can show what a better future looks like for everyone in our community.”
“The team has done an exceptional job building trust and relationships with clients in this community, helping to guide them towards housing,” said BRC president Muzzy Rosenblatt. “Local partnerships that are flexible allow providers and clients to truly build trust; and the outcomes speak for themselves.”
In addition to supporting the Alliance program to aid the homeless in Lower Manhattan, Trinity Church has given away more than $22 million in grants thus far this year, with a focus on housing insecurity and mental health needs. Recipients include nonprofit organizations in New York City, around the United States, and abroad. Among the organizations supported by Trinity in this funding round are more than half a dozen headquartered in Lower Manhattan. These include Tribeca’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, which has been allocated $450,000 to bolster academic success for students impacted by the justice system, and Children’s Rights, based in the Financial District, which received $200,000 to improve access to critical mental and behavioral health services for New York City children.
BRC is one of the City’s largest providers of housing and services for the homeless. Founded in 1971 by a group of recovering alcoholics living in poverty in the Bowery’s notorious “flophouses,” the organization serves nearly 13,000 individuals each year. Along with support services like outreach and case management, plus substance use services and medical assistance, BRC offers more than 3,700 units of transitional and permanent housing.
When it’s not helping the homeless, the mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents and visitors. In furtherance of these goals, the Alliance operates the local Business Improvement District and provides local security, trash pickup, the free Downtown Connection shuttle bus, and other services.