The Partnership for the Homeless

Who We Are Today

The Partnership for the Homeless has always based its work on the belief that homelessness is an unacceptable and avoidable part of the urban landscape. Our vision is of a world where housing is embraced as the human right that it is, fundamental to health and well-being and a prerequisite for prosperity.

Founded nearly three decades ago to provide emergency shelter, our work has expanded over the years to include an array of services for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, at risk for homelessness, or who are rebuilding their lives after leaving shelters.

Through services that include outreach into New York's most hard pressed communities, help with health and mental health issues, financial and nutritional counseling, connecting clients to other benefits, and employment and education assistance, the Partnership is helping thousands of New Yorkers improve their lives every year.

Who We Help

We've placed a special focus on populations for whom homelessness is on the rise or assistance is underrepresented, developing models of practice that address each of their unique needs.

  • Families and Children — now comprising the largest segment of New York City's homeless population.
  • Older Adults — one of the fastest growing and most marginalized homeless constituencies in New York City.
  • Chronically Ill — especially homeless individuals coping with or at-risk of HIV/AIDS who are often disconnected from health care.

How We Help

We work with each client based on the principle that housing — or more to the point, a home — is the critical first step in empowering a person to literally walk away from homelessness.

Because of the intense trauma and injury that homelessness inflicts, stability, wellness and independence can only happen successfully once someone has returned home.

We also know that home is more than an apartment or a house, but includes being part of a community.

That is why we moved to a "home in the community" model — a strategy that moves homeless families and individuals rapidly into housing, coupled with wraparound services and a community integration approach that builds the social capital needed to help ensure long-term stability. 

What We Do

People often come to our door with multiple crises. Our first goal is to help them gain stable housing – the anchor from which all other positive outcomes can flow. Once home, we help them gain the skills to improve their lives and become connected to their community. For an individual that help may be focused on health and mental health care; families usually need help in getting an economic footing for stability; while seniors often need help breaking the social isolation that puts them at high risk.

Because we understand the need to prevent homelessness from multiple angles, our staff is multi-disciplinary and includes client and family advocates, social workers, housing specialists, education advocates, outreach coordinators, researchers and policy specialists.

Our programs include:

  • The Family Resource Center in East New York, Brooklyn, supporting newly-housed families and those at risk of losing their housing by connecting them to services that directly address their housing needs, as well as other areas such as health & wellness, education, and employment;
  • Positive Step in Chelsea, Manhattan, providing individuals with or at risk for HIV/AIDS who are also homeless with housing assistance, intensive social service support, access to health care, and prevention services;
  • Furnish a Future, helping newly-housed, formerly homeless families quickly transform their new living spaces into fully-furnished homes; and
  • Older Adult Services, offering job counseling, training, and placement to seniors at risk for homelessness.

Our Unique Approach

A critical difference in our approach is our focus on the factors that cause homelessness — especially generational poverty and lack of affordable housing — and the actions that can best prevent it. Our interest is in solving the problem — not simply managing it — and in recent years we have developed a research and advocacy component to compliment our direct services.

Why? We are sobered by the fact that substantial public and private funds have been spent to address homelessness without significant impact. Efforts have largely focused on crisis management, relying on emergency shelter and other short-term measures. As a result, homelessness is at near-record highs across our City and nation. Most alarming is the number of families with young children forced to call a shelter home.

By bringing social science research rigor to frontline programs, we can better understand how to prevent homelessness and create greater housing stability. Not only does this help us refine our own work; it begins to create a best practice model based on empirical evidence.

The more we are able to demonstrate what works, the more forcefully we can advocate for policy changes at city, state, and federal levels with best practices that are scalable as their basis.

Direct assistance. Research. Advocacy. These are the tools that the Partnership for the homeless is using to amass solid, field-tested evidence about what works and why – and to create lasting change in the lives of New Yorkers at risk for homelessness. Our programs are thus organized as centers for learning that can help engineer productive, proactive public and private measures, rather than reactive responses to housing crises.