Located on the Bowery in Lower Manhattan, The Andrews is a former lodging house built in 1901. For individuals not yet ready to transition into permanent housing, as well as those who may have struggled in other housing programs, The Andrews offers an alternative to life on the street: private, safe, clean, and affordable short-term accommodations. On-site case management and clinical services are available at The Andrews to meet the needs of its residents and to help them secure permanent housing.
The Andrews is comprised of 146 short-term living units, including 138 units of Safe Haven transitional housing reserved for individuals served by Breaking Ground’s Street to Home program and other outreach programs.
Breaking Ground interviewed more than 200 chronically street homeless adults to better understand what features of short-term housing would be most likely to entice them off the streets. In 2003, Breaking Ground and The Architectural League of New York held an open design competition for a new form of accommodation that would reflect their preferences. Competitors were asked to design a prototypical unit and show how 19 such units could be organized on a typical floor. The design of The Andrews incorporates design elements that address clients’ concerns regarding issues such as privacy and personal space, thereby gaining their trust and ultimately helping to foster their transition to permanent homes.
Safe Havens are “low-threshold” resources: they have fewer requirements, making them attractive to those who are reluctant to accept shelter. There are no curfews and more privacy. A client can miss a night at the Safe Haven without losing his or her bed, as they would at a traditional shelter.
But fewer restrictions do not signal a hands-off approach. Safe Havens offer intensive case management, along with mental health and substance abuse assistance, with the ultimate goal of moving each client into permanent housing. Safe Havens are, thus, a crucial harm reduction/Housing First resource to enable the most entrenched chronically homeless, who have extreme reluctance to leave behind their unsheltered lives to accept help.