Still Housing the Needy, In a Changed Manhattan

About 25 years ago, when many of Manhattan’s grand older buildings were derelict and decrepit, the city started selling abandoned buildings and troubled single-room-occupancy hotels to social service agencies for use as long-term “supportive housing” for chronically homeless New Yorkers. At the time, the buildings were haggard, having surrendered long before to drug dealers and decay, and the neighborhoods where they stood were often sketchy.  Today, these facilities are still operating, but they do so in a different universe.  The Prince George, among the largest welfare hotels in the city before it was acquired by Common Ground in the mid-1990s and restored, is just a few blocks from one of New York’s best restaurants, Eleven Madison Park; a supportive building on West 24th Street is opposite a Whole Foods store and expensive condominiums; there is even supportive housing on prime West End Avenue, blending in perfectly with its co-op neighbors, right down to its crisp green awning.

New York Times


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