Success and Struggles Point to a Better Way to Help NYC’s Chronically Homeless

For three years, Mark Williams has come home to his own studio apartment in a spacious six-story building on the western edge of Fordham manor. But even now, Williams remembers exactly what it’s like to freeze on the New York City streets in the winter:

“Dead man’s cold.”

Williams is one of 46 formerly homeless veterans living in supportive housing at Kingsbridge Terrace, an apartment building operated by Jericho Project, a 33-year old nonprofit that runs 500 of New York City’s 32,000 such units. In supportive housing, affordable rents—each resident pays one-third of his income—are combined with social services like therapy, substance abuse treatment and career counseling. The model has long been heralded as an effective tool to reduce both homelessness and city spending. One study showed that supportive housing for frequent users of the shelter, jail and hospital system saved around $15,000 per person.

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