CUCS Leading Campaign to Reduce Street Homelessness Across Manhattan
July 19, 2017

CUCS is leading a bold and strategic campaign to reduce street homelessness across Manhattan using our signature triad of housing, psychiatric and medical services. To meet this extraordinary challenge, we are bringing to bear experienced teams of outreach workers, psychiatrists and medical professionals. Together they work seamlessly to engage street homeless individuals in getting housed and leading healthier lives.

“We can significantly reduce street homelessness in New York,” said CUCS President and CEO Tony Hannigan. “By treating the social, mental and medical care issues at the heart of chronic homelessness, we intend to address and solve the visible and troubling conditions of men and women living on the streets of Manhattan.”

Towards that goal, we are taking the lead in a three-year, $33-million contract with the New York City Department of Homeless Services to oversee all outreach and housing placement services for men and women living on the streets in Manhattan.

CUCS is the lead agency in a consortium of Manhattan-based nonprofits that includes Goddard Riverside Community Center and Breaking Ground, and we are working together to help street homeless individuals with:

  • Outreach and Housing Placement: Dedicated teams of outreach professionals and social workers who are the front lines of moving street homeless individuals to housing. Available on a 24/7/365-day basis, the teams start as early as 5:30 a.m. to make contact with clients before the rush hour begins.  Through consistent and ongoing communication, they build relationships and address the obstacles that keep people from housing – as basic as accompanying them on a trip to obtain a photo ID, or as complicated as getting treatment for mental illness.
  • Psychiatric Services: Mental illness, often complicated by self-medication or substance abuse, is at the heart of street homelessness for many individuals. A trusted team of psychiatrists provides an ongoing treatment program for the mental health issues that lead to and cement the isolation of homelessness.  They conduct the psychiatric evaluations essential for homeless individuals to enter the shelter system or to get housing subsidies for supportive and other housing.

“We can practice recovery-oriented psychiatry in a team-based concept,” said Joanna Fried, the Medical Director for the street outreach program.  “It’s gratifying to see chronically homeless individuals get better in these three ways:  Their feet are getting better because the Nurse Practitioner is wrapping them. Their anxiety is lessening because we are meeting every week and getting the right medication.  And they are no longer living on the street as they move to safe havens and housing.”

  • Street Medicine: CUCS’ Street Medicine program, launched one year ago, revolutionized the health prospects for hundreds of street homeless individuals – whose life expectancies are 25 years shorter than housed persons. By bringing expert medical care to where street homeless people live and congregate, CUCS’ teams of nurses and outreach workers establish trust with regular interactions, promote better health behaviors and ultimately ease them into housing.

Manhattan outreach teams establish trusting relationships with street homeless men and women, and work with them consistently over time, addressing their often overlapping needs. As a result of CUCS and its partners’ efforts, 4,275 individuals have moved off Manhattan streets since 2009.

To provide pathways to exit street homelessness, CUCS uses transitional and permanent housing options across New York City, and it provides services to 2,400 units of supportive housing. Over the next year, we will also be opening a new safe haven and drop-in center.

“Much of the battle is getting housing, and the balance is treating the conditions that lead to street homelessness in the first place,” Hannigan said.

Learn more about our work with men and women living on the streets of Manhattan: