July 26, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/uU7hQMw7QEs
New York City’s Business Community Pledges Over $8 Million to Support Expansion of Breaking Ground’s Connect to Care Initiative, Targeting High-Density Areas Of Employment, Reach Unsheltered People, and Facilitate Housing Placements
Public-Private Partnership Welcomes Additional Funding for Future Program Expansion
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Partnership for New York City today announced the launch of the Homeless Assistance Fund — a collective public-private initiative to provide services and mental health resources to New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. The Homeless Assistance Fund will partner with Breaking Ground, a homeless outreach and housing nonprofit, to accelerate getting unsheltered New Yorkers and individuals living with mental illness into the treatment programs and housing they need. This program will layer and strengthen the city’s existing homeless outreach initiatives, including Mayor Adams’ Subway Safety Plan, that has connected approximately 2,000 individuals to shelter since beginning in February.
“When New Yorkers come together to do the right thing, we can make real progress,” said Mayor Adams. “The Homeless Assistance Fund is a public-private partnership that will continue our work to tackle street homelessness by bringing together more than 60 of New York City’s businesses to offer support, resources, and a path to stability for people experiencing homelessness. In concert with the city’s unprecedented efforts and investments on the subways and in the streets, we can make sure that none of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness falls through the cracks. I’m grateful to the Partnership for New York City for spearheading this effort and our business partners for stepping up and coming together to help fight homelessness.”
“The city’s business community believes that Connect to Care offers a tangible way to help address a humanitarian crisis that has become larger and more visible during the pandemic and demands a compassionate response from both government and the private sector,” said Kathryn Wylde, president & CEO, Partnership for New York City.
“We’re tremendously thankful to the Partnership for New York City and each of the companies that stepped up to expand Connect to Care’s reach to more individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Brenda Rosen, president and CEO, Breaking Ground. “While it’s already an impactful program in New York, the addition of corporate funding to expand outreach is crucial to closing the gaps in services across the city. Thanks to this new private-public partnership, Connect to Care will add a layer of care to the New Yorkers who desperately need it today.”
“To tackle the city’s homelessness issue, it will take a sustained multilayered, multi-stakeholder approach. Today’s announcement puts that approach into practice, with a robust public-private partnership and the enlistment of service providers on the ground,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Thank you to the Partnership for New York City and all our corporate partners and to Breaking Ground for doing the hard work each and every day to reach New Yorkers experiencing homelessness."
“Today’s announcement shows what happens when the public and private sectors join together for the betterment of all New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “Through this new, multi-million-dollar fund, we have another tool to make sure our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness receive the care they deserve. I applaud this cross-sector collaboration and innovative approach to tackling one of the city’s most critical, pressing issues.”
“These unprecedented times call not just for a ‘whole of government’ approach to our economic and social issues, but a ‘whole of society’ approach,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Since day one, the Adams administration has worked closely with private enterprises to help city government address the challenges of today, and I thank the participating business community for their commitment to help all New Yorkers.”
“We are paying attention to the voices and ideas of all New Yorkers, including our not-for-profit provider-partners and the business community, as we continue to find creative new ways to build on our existing efforts to address the citywide challenge of homelessness,” said New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “The Homeless Assistance Fund will prove to be an absolutely vital resource and help strengthen and expand our outreach efforts for New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness. We are ever-grateful for the generous donations we have received and look forward to seeing this incredible public-private partnership continue to grow as our city comes together to help serve and support some of our most vulnerable neighbors with care and compassion.”
The Homeless Assistance Fund is an expansion of Breaking Ground’s Connect to Care initiative piloted over the past two years with several private sector partners, including Macy’s, Vornado, Starbucks, and the MetLife Foundation. The Partnership’s interest in the project was in response to the concerns expressed by employees of its member companies in a Morning Consult survey. Employees identified care for the city’s mentally ill and unsheltered population as the top priority for charitable action by the business community.
In a demonstration of the business community’s commitment to helping city government address the challenges of homelessness and mental illness, 61 companies contributed to the launch of the Homeless Assistance Fund, including:
Other donors are encouraged to join this effort, with the goal of expanding the program to areas across the city with high concentrations of unsheltered individuals.
The Homeless Assistance Fund will allow Breaking Ground to add additional outreach worker teams and serve areas not covered by city contracts, such as ATM vestibules, retail spaces, and plazas. The program will initially target areas around major transit hubs and dense office districts. Breaking Ground will offer training for people commuting to work in these districts to help them better understand populations facing homelessness and mental illness and equip employees with practical ways to help.
Preliminary data shows Connect to Care can help someone experiencing homelessness access a transitional housing placement up to three times faster due to more frequent engagement and access to locations that had not previously been canvassed. Connect to Care is a value-add program that layers over existing outreach with opportunities for more intensive trust building. Breaking Ground expects to begin phasing in deployment of expanded outreach teams in seven initial areas by early fall 2022.
“Tishman Speyer is proud to stand with the city of New York, the Partnership for New York City, and other business leaders to support this vital initiative,” said Rob Speyer, co-chair, Partnership for New York City; president and CEO, Tishman Speyer. “We know that the health, safety, and wellbeing of our fellow New Yorkers are key to the city’s future. The Homeless Assistance Fund will ensure more residents get the care they need.”
“Supporting our communities and those in need is a cornerstone of our culture. This unique partnership provides assistance, care, safety, and compassion, and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Steve Swartz, co-chair, Partnership for New York City; president and CEO, Hearst.
“New Yorkers experiencing homelessness should be treated with dignity and respect,” said José Tavarez, president, Bank of America New York. “Bank of America’s support of the Homeless Assistance Fund allows us to address this critical issue in a compassionate and caring way, providing pathways out of homelessness for those on the street while giving a boost to the city’s economy.”
“We are proud to help scale this important initiative and drive progress toward addressing the city’s homeless and mental health challenges," said Larry Knafo, Global Head of Enterprise Services; chief security officer, BlackRock. “This partnership will equip BlackRock employees based in our New York office with the tools to take action and make our community stronger and safer for all.”
“As a company based here in New York City for 238 years, BNY Mellon is committed to the city’s continued revitalization,” said Robin Vince, CEO-elect, BNY Mellon. “We’re proud to work with the local community on an important cause: providing treatment and shelter to New Yorkers in need.”
“The Homeless Assistance Fund demonstrates the positive impact public-private partnerships can have in addressing societal challenges, including homelessness and mental illness,” said Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and CEO, Chubb. “The health and vitality of our city rely on solutions that work for everyone, and we are pleased to be a part of this important initiative that helps some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers get the assistance they need.”
“As the city of New York continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it is critically important that we increase support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We are committed to working with the Partnership for New York City, Breaking Ground, and other private sector organizations to provide resources for those in crisis. While the causes of homelessness are complex, public-private partnerships like this are an important way the city’s most vulnerable residents can be offered the help they otherwise would not be able to access.”
“The increasing rates of people experiencing homelessness and mental illness are critical issues, and as business leaders within the most vibrant city in the world, we have the resources and responsibility to come together to be part of the solution,” said Barry Gosin, CEO, Newmark. “Breaking Ground is a highly respected organization with a broad range of services that will provide crucial assistance to those in the most need to help mitigate this ongoing crisis.”
“Pfizer appreciates this opportunity to help address homelessness in New York City. As a company founded and headquartered here, we have a deep commitment to the city and the health and wellbeing of its people,” said Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO, Pfizer. “Partnerships such as this demonstrate the power of collaboration. Breaking Ground’s efforts will provide critical tools for assisting this vulnerable population and allowing our colleagues to be a part of the solution.”
“The Homeless Assistance Fund is an expression of our commitment to the city of New York,” said Alan Schnitzer, chairman and CEO, Travelers. “At Travelers, we are in the business of taking care of the communities we’re privileged to serve, and, in that spirit, we are proud to provide New Yorkers in need with critical resources.”
"The dual health and economic crises caused by the pandemic have created a myriad of challenges for individuals and families, especially those, who through no fault of their own, have found themselves without a safe place to live,” said Charlie Scharf, CEO, Wells Fargo. “The city’s recovery is dependent on public-private partnerships, and we are proud to join the Partnership for New York City, Breaking Ground, and others in expanding support for individuals experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges. Thank you to Mayor Adams and his administration for spearheading this effort.”