The safe haven at 106-108 West 83rd Street welcomed its first residents on Thursday, Patch was first to report. The facility, operated by Breaking Ground, has been the topic of community-wide debate since it was first announced earlier this year.
“Breaking Ground is pleased to welcome individuals to the West 83rd Street Safe Haven this week,” a spokesperson for the organization told Patch. “Tackling our homelessness crisis is a collaborative effort, and we look forward to serving the Upper West Side community and remaining good partners for the long term.”
The facility has sparked concerns from community members who are frustrated with the lack of communication and clarity surrounding local shelters. The West 83rd Street Breaking Ground facility follows the opening of two emergency shelters at the Belnord Hotel on W. 87th and Riverside Terrace on W. 88th – these, however, are housing asylum seekers, not formerly homeless New Yorkers.
The Safe Haven is offering its residents daily meals, counseling, job training, clinical staff, and 24-hour security.
While there will not be a time limit for how long a person can stay at the safe haven, the residence is meant to be a stepping stone between living on the street and moving into more permanent affordable housing.
The building, which is across the street from P.S. 9 and the Center School, has been unused since 2021. It previously served as a shelter which housed a maximum of 130 men. The Breaking Ground facility is open to all genders.
According to its website, Breaking Ground operates nearly 4,000 permanent and transitional housing units across NYC.