NCS Origins (1980-1981)
With the rise of homelessness in the early 1980s, the Rev. Hays H. Rockwell, Rector of St. James’ Church, and other faith, civic and community leaders on Manhattan’s Upper East Side came together to determine what they could do to address the growing problem. They were inspired by the belief that homelessness is the responsibility of the entire community.
The Coalition (1982)
Neighborhood churches and synagogues, including All Souls Unitarian Church, Brick Presbyterian Church, Christ Church Methodist, Church of the Epiphany, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Jan Hus Church, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. James' Church, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Israel, and Temple Shaaray Tefila, partnered to offer lunch and dinner programs. In 1982 the coalition formally incorporated as Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter.
First Programs (1983-1984)
In 1983 NCS established its first program, a shelter at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House for homeless women, and the NCS Day Program opened the following year. Initially located in various churches, in 1989 the Day Program evolved into the Neighborhood Center for Homeless People (NCHP), a 24-hour service center providing food, clothing, showers and connection to essential social services. The NCHP operated for nineteen years before closing as a result of changes in city funding priorities.
Also in 1983 Governor Mario Cuomo honored Anne Davidson, Celine Marcus, Wolcott B. Dunham, David J. Stern, and Elizabeth Rohatyn with the “Family of New York Award."
The Neighborhood Center for Homeless People (1989)
St. James’ Church and religious and neighborhood institutions, foundations and individuals funded the purchase of a building at 237 East 77th Street to serve as a 24-hour multi-service center.
The Residences (1985, 2009)
Over the years, NCS has evolved with the changing needs of the community, offering meal programs, seasonal shelters and transitional housing. NCS was also among the pioneers in supportive housing, opening the NCS Residence in 1985. Located on East 81st Street in Manhattan, it provides supportive housing for 65 chronically homeless men and women, most of whom struggle with mental illness or substance use. Fully renovated in 2006, the building features a rooftop garden and lounge and dining room with training kitchen.
NCS expanded its geographic reach to the Bronx in 2009 with the opening of Louis Nine House, a supportive residence of 46 studio apartments for young adults (ages 18-25) who are homeless or have aged out of foster care.
East Side Homeless Network (1996)
NCS, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and Yorkville (now New York) Common Pantry joined together to form the East Side Homeless Network to coordinate service delivery. The ESHN continued for more than 20 years.
The Research Program (2000 – 2008)
In 2000 NCS began researching the psychiatric characteristics of chronically homeless individuals in an effort to better understand their complex needs and improve services for this vulnerable population. NCS's first research study, "Dual Focus Schema Therapy: A Therapeutic Approach for Homeless Individuals" was published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry. Findings from NCS's second research study were published in The Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol.22 (6) in 2008.
Non-Residential Programs (2007-present)
Chance for Change, a licensed outpatient substance use treatment program, was introduced in 2007 specifically to serve men and women who are homeless and battling addiction. The program was retooled and relaunched in 2016.
Seeking to increase outreach and simplify access to services, a program now known as Community Human Services Information and Referral Program (CHIRP), introduced in 2012, leverages community meal programs to provide hundreds of participants with on-site information and referral services.
In 2013, Louis Nine House also became home to our vocational and educational program, now known as OPTIONS, which helps individuals with little or no employment history and significant barriers to employment find and keep entry-level jobs.