A shelter in the Bronx is shaking up the homeless shelter model by becoming its own landlord

Kristin Schwab Aug 1, 2018
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A homeless man sits on the sidewalk on a frigid day in Manhattan in December 2017. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A shelter in the Bronx is shaking up the homeless shelter model by becoming its own landlord

Kristin Schwab Aug 1, 2018
A homeless man sits on the sidewalk on a frigid day in Manhattan in December 2017. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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The economics of housing the homeless is a tricky equation, especially in New York City, which has a right-to-shelter mandate, meaning the city has to provide a temporary bed to anyone who needs it. Because of demand, the city often houses people in apartments and hotels where accommodations can be spotty and social services nonexistent.

But one shelter in the Bronx, called Landing Road Residence, is trying a new approach. It’s owned by the nonprofit Bowery Residents’ Committee, which operates a 200-bed shelter there and offers 135 subsidized apartments. Here’s how it works: Many shelters rely on city funding to rent market-rate space. BRC built Landing Road. Instead of paying money to a landlord, it puts the subsidy it gets from the city toward a building loan. What’s left over subsidizes apartments. 

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