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Our Results

Our Results

At Breaking Ground, we aren’t working to make a difference for a day. We support transformations that will last a lifetime.

Each year, hundreds of men and women overcome homelessness and transform their lives with our help. When you add to that the scores of residents who derive stability, enrichment and a sense of community at our buildings year after year, the number grows to the thousands.

We have the data to prove it. Our Quality Assurance & Compliance Department continuously evaluates the functioning of our buildings, the stability of our tenants, and our program outcomes. This attention to both quantitative and qualitative indicators helps us identify and implement best practices and develop new programs and services to meet changing client needs.

Breaking Ground consistently meets the following annual benchmarks:

Keys
We ensure that 98%* of individuals remain housed one year after placement

*Clients entering our special needs supportive housing units

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We place at least 500 individuals in transitional or permanent housing each year.
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More than 4,000 people sleep under a Breaking Ground roof each night.
Construction
We have more than 1,000 new apartments in our development pipeline.

Awards & Honors

Through nearly three decades of service to New York City and beyond, Breaking Ground has garnered awards and honors for our innovative and effective programs. These awards celebrate our commitment to building and operating high-quality housing for our most vulnerable neighbors and to building a healthier and more vibrant city for all New Yorkers.

Design and Preservation

Rudy Bruner

Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Gold Medal

Location
The Times Square

In recognition of buildings and public spaces in American cities that are developed with such vision and imagination that they transform urban problems into creative solutions.

World Habitat Awards

World Habitat Award

Location
The Prince George

The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 in honor of the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Two awards are given annually to projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.

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AIA New York Housing Design Awards, Citation

Location
The Schermerhorn

Established by the American Institute of Architects to recognize outstanding architectural design by New York City architects and for work in New York City.

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Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

Location
The Prince George

The Moses Award is the New York Landmark Conservancy’s highest honor for outstanding preservation efforts. The award was given to Breaking Ground’s Prince George Ballroom restoration in recognition of its role in the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the City.

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American Council of Engineering Diamond Award

Location
The Schermerhorn

In recognition of exceptional engineering design in the construction industry.

Ct Trust

Connecticut Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust

Location
The Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Foundation Center

Recognizes outstanding preservation projects and people who have made significant contributions to the preservation of Connecticut’s historic resources.

Cbc

Connecticut Building Congress Project Team Award

Honors outstanding building projects that exemplify collaboration among building owners, architects, engineers and construction professionals.

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Building Brooklyn Award

Location
The Schermerhorn

Recognizing new construction and renovation projects that enrich Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and local economy.

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Building Brooklyn Award

Location
The Domenech

Recognizing new construction and renovation projects that enrich Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and local economy.

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American Institute of Architects Housing Award

Location
The Schermerhorn

Recognizing the best in housing design and promoting the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable natural resource.

American Planning Assoc

American Planning Association Paul Davidoff Award

The NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association awards the Paul Davidoff Award which recognizes leadership in housing and equal opportunity.

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AIA New York Housing Design Award of Merit

Location
The Hegeman

Established by the American Institute of Architects to recognize outstanding architectural design by New York City architects and for work in New York City.

F520E5

Building Brooklyn Award

Location
The Hegeman

Recognizing new construction and renovation projects that enrich Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and local economy.

Bsa1A Designawards

BSA Housing Design Award

Location
The Hegeman

The BSA (Boston Society of Architects) Award for Housing Design honors projects that embody excellence in housing, that can be located anywhere in the world as long as the architect/firm currently resides in New England or New York. The judging is based on design excellence, defined by the BSA as the extent to which the design is aesthetic, functional, contextual, sustainable, social and “liveable.”

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Residential Architect Design Award

Location
The Brook

The Residential Architect Design Award, sponsored by Architect Magazine

Static1 Squarespace

Society of Registered Architects Award of Merit

Location
The Brook

The mission of the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) is to provide architectural professionals opportunities to unite as a common voice and work together for the betterment of the profession; the advancement of all mankind and sustainability of the environment; and foster the Golden Rule of "Architect helping Architect."

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NYCxDESIGN Award for Low-Income Multi-Unit Residential

Location
Boston Road

Presented by Interior Design Magazine and ICFF, the NYCxDESIGN Awards celebrate and showcase New York City as the center of design.

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AIA New York State Excelsior Awards, Award of Merit for New Construction

Location
Boston Road

Honoring excellence in practice and advocacy of design in New York State public architecture.

Excellence in Organizational Vision & Management

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The Peter Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation

Established in 1991, the award is granted to a social sector organization that demonstrates Drucker’s definition of innovation: change that creates a new dimension of performance.

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Best Companies To Work For in New York State

Sponsored by the New York State Society of Human Resources Management, this award is based on surveys of current Breaking Ground staff and organizational practices and benefits packages. Breaking Ground was among 24 large companies named “Best Employer” in 2012.

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Best Companies To Work For in New York State

Sponsored by the New York State Society of Human Resources Management, this award is based on surveys of current Breaking Ground staff and organizational practices and benefits packages. Breaking Ground was among 20 large companies named “Best Employer” in 2013.

Op Optimus Award Logo Navy

Optimas Gold Award for Partnership

The Optimas Awards, given by Workforce magazine, recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results. Breaking Ground was recognized for partnering with Robin Hood Foundation and McKinsey & Co. to create a five-year strategic plan. More details can be found here.

Neighborhood Impact

Breaking Ground doesn’t just build and operate top quality housing. We create neighborhood assets that promote social inclusion. Our buildings preserve historic landmarks, transform neglected properties, and introduce new resources and opportunities to surrounding communities. The residences we build and operate provide permanent homes for vulnerable individuals, and our model works best when we are part of the very fabric of the neighborhood.

The Schermerhorn's Double Identity

The Schermerhorn in Downtown Brooklyn is a haven for both the formerly homeless and for lovers of the arts. In addition to providing 216 units of supportive housing, the building is home to the Brooklyn Ballet’s performance studio and a state-of-the-art black box theater. With a low-income tenant population dominated by people working in the performing arts - such as actors, dancers, singers and filmmakers - the building helps to ensure that the creative work of local artists will continue to enrich the city.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at the Prince George

In 2001, Breaking Ground introduced a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for tenants of the Prince George and residents of the Madison Square District. In exchange for a modest membership fee, participants receive fresh, in-season produce each week from June to November. The program enables our low-income residents and their neighbors to afford good quality, healthy produce, available at their doorstep. Interested in joining? Visit the CSA website.

The Prince George Ballroom

In 2004, Breaking Ground restored the 19th century Beaux-Arts ballroom at the Prince George to the full splendor of its Renaissance-inspired design, which features ornamented columns and elaborate pilaster work. Proceeds from event rentals by private parties and community organizations alike support Breaking Ground’s mission. Interested in renting the ballroom for an event? Learn more here.

Hegeman Community Garden

In 2016, Breaking Ground introduced a community garden as part of our 161-unit permanent supportive housing project at 39 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The 2,500 square foot park area offers educational and recreational programming for neighborhood residents. This amenity is one of few safe, attractive, well-designed green spaces for residents of this under-resourced neighborhood.

Why It Works

More than half of homeless single adults in the United States struggle with mental illness, substance abuse, and chronic health problems like HIV/AIDS – issues that contribute to and maintain their homelessness. Individuals facing these issues are not helped by shelters or soup kitchens. In fact, they often reject such short-term fixes, instead cycling repeatedly through emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals and jails – the most costly “shelters” of all.

Supportive housing, by contrast, is both more humane and cost-effective:

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The annual cost to provide a single adult with supportive housing is $24,190, or less than half the cost of providing emergency, inpatient, and other crisis services to an unhoused individual with mental illness.

Breaking Ground’s approach enables homeless individuals to overcome complex challenges posed by mental illness, substance abuse, past trauma, and other barriers to stability by:

  • Providing safe, permanent homes without conditions. Our clients are not obligated to complete a rehabilitation program, attain sobriety, or meet any other preconditions before moving into housing.
  • Fostering a supportive environment focused on connectedness. On-site services address essential health, mental health, and occupational needs, while also creating opportunities for socializing, recreation, and community connectedness.
  • Transforming individuals, buildings and neighborhoods: At its inception, Breaking Ground restored the Times Square Hotel in Manhattan, converting a dilapidated and crime-ridden building into vibrant, affordable housing with on-site clinical and employment services for residents. This restoration helped catalyze the revitalization of the Times Square neighborhood and introduced a new, results-oriented approach to addressing homelessness. The Times Square residence has been replicated elsewhere in New York City, as well as in cities throughout the country and internationally.

Saving Public Dollars

Breaking Ground’s approach to addressing homelessness not only saves lives, it saves public dollars. The annual cost to provide a single adult with supportive housing is $24,190, or less than half the cost of providing emergency, inpatient, and other crisis services to an unhoused individual with mental illness:

Service Provider
Average Days Used Per YearPer Diem CostCost Per Year2011 Dollars
DHS68.5$74$5,069$5,069
OMH28.75$467$13,426$16,513
HHC8.25$1,185$9,776$12,024
Medicaid (inpatient)17.75$657$11,662$15,216
Medicaid (outpatient)31$84$2,604$3,398
VA4$467$1,868$2,437
Department of Correction (state)4.75$125$594$594
Department of Correction (city)5$220$1,100$1,100
Total$56,350