In 1990, a small group of people came together to bring to scale a new model of housing for people who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness - permanent supportive housing. The result was Breaking Ground's Times Square residence.
Nearly 30 years later, the Times Square remains the largest supportive residence in the country, and thousands of people have been able to escape or avoid life on the streets by finding a home in one of its 652 apartments.
Today, Breaking Ground operates more than 3,500 units of housing across New York City, along with housing in upstate New York and Connecticut. Supportive housing - affordable housing paired with wraparound services designed to help people maintain their homes for the long-term - is widely recognized as a proven and cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness.
But we didn't stop at providing housing. Breaking Ground's programs and services help people experiencing street homelessness - especially those who have been on the streets the longest - to come indoors. Through our Street to Home outreach program and transitional housing resources, we help people get, and stay, on the path to a permanent home.
The Right Resources
People experiencing homelessness on the streets face many challenges. We provide a variety of solutions and work with each person to determine what is best for them. Some individuals are able to move directly into permanent housing. Others utilize the intensive supports in transitional housing to overcome a life on the streets.
Meeting People Where They Are
Whether that means conducting a psychiatric evaluation on a street corner, sending an outreach worker who speaks a client's native language, or tracking down a birth certificate from another state, we find creative ways to help people get on the path to permanent housing.
Housing is an important social determinant of health. Once a person is stably housed, they are vastly more likely to achieve sobriety and address other important needs for healthier living. We believe in providing housing without preconditions or barriers to entry. Everyone deserves a home.
We foster strong communities by creating beautiful spaces and offering life-enriching workshops and social events. People who have experienced chronic homelessness have often lost important social connections - we help people re-engage with society and maintain housing for the long term.
Compassion, Patience, Persistence
Above all, we do our work with compassion, patience, and persistence. This pays off in the form of both high long-term stability rates and a strong sense of trust in the communities in which we work. We even have an excellent reputation among those still living on the streets who know of others who are today in housing because of Breaking Ground.