For a summary of our first 40 years, click here
For more than 40 years, the Coalition has developed and implemented humane, cost-effective solutions to New York’s homelessness crisis. Scan the timeline below for highlights of our programs and landmark litigation, and click entries to learn more.
Coalition Founders File Callahan v. Carey
Police Conduct Street Sweeps Around Madison Square Garden for the DNC Convention
Callahan v. Carey Consent Decree Establishes the Right to Shelter; The Coalition is Incorporated
Eldredge v. Koch Extends Right to Shelter to Women
McCain v. Koch Filed to Give the Right to Shelter to Families
Opening of Camp Homeward Bound; Pitts v. Black
Coalition Begins the Grand Central Food Program; Wilkins v. Perales
Coalition Opens Albany office; McCain v. Koch; Baby Jennifer v. Koch
RAP Launched; Koskinas v. Boufford; Heard v. Cuomo
Coalition Houses Re-Opens; Mixon v. Grinker
Shelter Census Falls
SSHP created; First NY/NY Housing Agreement
First Step, Bridge Building Open; Number of Families in Shelters Rises
CFH v. Jensen
Community Mental Health Reinvestment Act
StreetWatch v. National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Archie v. Grand Central Partnership
Homeless Population Rises
Coalition Formalizes the Eviction Prevention Program; Massive Shelter Flooding
Coalition Challenges Punitive Shelter Rules
Bound for Success Begins; Giuliani Shelter Ejection Plan Blocked; New Poll; NY Kids Need Housing
CFH Begins CAP
Michael Bloomberg Takes Office; State of the Homeless; NY Kids Need Housing Campaign Continues
NYS Appellate Court Allows Shelter Denial Regulations
Bloomberg Announces Five-Year Plan to End Homelessness; Undercounting the Homeless; Youth Against Homelessness
DRIE Established; NY/NYIII; Annual Homeless Death Reporting Requirement
Bloomberg Launches Advantage Program
Settlement Ensures Right to Shelter for Homeless Families with Children
Bloomberg Administration Proposes Families Pay “Rent” for Shelter; Coalition Documents Bloomberg’s Lost Decade
CFH Files Enforcement Order
Cuomo Takes Office; Bloomberg Ends Advantage Program, Litigation Follows
Number of Children in Shelter Reaches 20,000; Hurricane Sandy; Medicaid Ombudsprogram
Ruling on Shelter Eligibility Rules; Shelter Census Tops 50,000
De Blasio Takes Office and Initiates LINC; Coalition Leads the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing; DRIE Expands
NYC Commits to 15,000 Units of Supportive Housing
Gov. Cuomo Commits to 20,000 Units of Supportive Housing; Mayor Appoints the Coalition as Monitor of Family Shelters
Butler v. City of New York; NYS Releases Supportive Housing Funding; Right to Counsel in NYC
House Our Future NY; Client Advisory Group Newsletter; Safe Housing for Survivors of Human Trafficking; Parity Reporting
Council Requires Homeless Set-Asides in New Housing; DRIE Saves Millions
Yes to HSS; COVID-19 Pandemic; Single Adult Shelter Census Climbs Above 20,000; Fisher v. City of New York and E.G. v. City of New York
Massive Pandemic Rent Relief; State and City Action on Rental Assistance
Scattered Site Housing Program
The Coalition creates the Scattered
Site Housing Program for people with HIV/AIDS, to help fight discrimination against
people living with AIDS by housing them in private market apartments throughout several
David Dinkins, former member of the NYS Assembly and Manhattan Borough President, is sworn in as
first Black Mayor of the City of New York, and launches “Alternative Pathways” to combat
NY/NY Housing Agreement
The first NY/NY Housing Agreement and Housing New York Capital Investment Plan create
units of housing for homeless and low-income New Yorkers. The City is forced to end the use of
welfare hotels that do not comply with the City regulations by the Legal Aid Society.
The New York/New York Agreement, a joint State-City initiative, is signed by
Mayor Dinkins and Governor Mario Cuomo and — by creating 3,800 units of permanent supportive
— is the largest effort to date to create housing with on-site support services for homeless
individuals living with mental illness.
The Coalition for the Homeless is unique in providing both lifesaving frontline services and groundbreaking large-scale advocacy.
The Coalition’s first legal victory, Callahan v. Carey, established New York City’s right to shelter for homeless adult men – a crucial first step in establishing subsequent victories on behalf of homeless women and children. Since then, the Coalition has won a string of legal victories including securing medically appropriate housing for people living with HIV/AIDS and ensuring the right to vote for Americans without homes. We continue to serve as the court-appointed monitor of the shelter system for single adults and vigorously defend the hard-fought rights we have secured for our city’s poorest and most marginalized. Our large scale advocacy work has established a baseline of human decency and care for those most often marginalized, ignored and forgotten in our society.
The Coalition’s direct service programs bring lifesaving support to more than 3,500 homeless men, women and children each day. We provide emergency food and blankets, eviction prevention, crisis services and individual advocacy, permanent housing, job training and special programs for homeless youth. Our mobile soup kitchen delivers hot nutritious meals to 1,000 people living rough on the streets every single night without fail, and our Crisis Services programs help more than 10,000 people each year with a wide array of problems ranging from lost identification to impending eviction to a need for mental health services. We are the place where those who have been turned away everywhere else can come and receive compassionate and professional help.
The Coalition is out in the shelters and on the streets every single day, meeting homeless people where they are, and homeless New Yorkers know the doors of our headquarters in Lower Manhattan are always open to them. Our constant frontline presence enables us to effectively amplify the voices of homeless people themselves in fighting for real solutions to homelessness in City Hall and Albany, and our historic role in establishing and defending the rights of homeless men, women and children make our program staff uniquely qualified to help those in need. Simply put, our advocacy informs our programs, and our programs inform our advocacy. This dual focus gives the Coalition its legitimacy as the most trusted source of information for policymakers, academics, the press, the general public and homeless people themselves.
The Coalition advances only sensible and fiscally-sound solutions to New York’s crisis of homelessness. Decades of empirical evidence clearly demonstrate that housing-based solutions to homelessness cost taxpayers far less than stopgap emergency measures, and result in homeless individuals and families remaining stably housed for the long term. While the average cost to taxpayers of keeping a homeless family in shelter for one year is more than $72,500, helping that family move into permanent housing by providing a temporary rental subsidy costs less than one-third of that amount. For those with mental illness and other disabilities, the creation of permanent supportive housing units saves New Yorkers $10,000 per person per year.