Supportive housing development for homeless LGBTQ young adults opens in Harlem

October 25, 2023

Image courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

A new housing development with supportive services for LGBTQIA+ young adults opened in Harlem this week. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced on Tuesday the completion of Homeward Central Harlem, a residential project with 50 apartments and on-site services provided by Homeward NYC, a non-profit that provides housing and support for homeless New Yorkers. The nine-story building at 15 West 118th Street will offer counseling, case management, group activities, skills-building programs, and connections to community resources.

Rendering courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office.

Developed by TypeAProjects and Azimuth Development Group, the nine-story building includes 50 fully furnished studio apartments for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Tenants have already moved into a majority of the apartments. As Gay City News reports, LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk of homelessness; in New York City, LGBTQ young people make up roughly 34 percent of those aged 13-20 living in foster care.

Residents are referred to the building by the NYC Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Youth and Community Development’s Runaway & Homeless Youth program, and the Administration for Children’s Services Foster Care. Housing within the building is non-time limited, which means residents won’t age out of services on their 26th birthday.

Residents will have access to an on-site gym, a communal meeting area, a kitchen, desktop computers, an outdoor patio, a laundry room, low-cost internet service, and are assisted with getting access to financial and health care benefits, according to Gay City News.

“With 50 units of supportive housing and comprehensive counseling, case management, and community resources located right on-site, Homeward Central Harlem is a testament to New York’s ongoing commitment to supporting our LGBTQIA+ community,” Hochul said.

“Homelessness, housing insecurity, and discrimination are still a reality for far too many LGBTQIA+ individuals in our state, but through transformative investments in housing and wraparound services and collaboration with partners like Mayor Adams and Homeward NYC, my administration will continue working to uplift this community and ensure that LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers of all ages can access safe, secure housing with the resources they need to thrive.”

Homeward Central Harlem is Homeward NYC’s third supportive housing development designated for LGBTQIA+ youth.

“LGBTQIA youth are often pushed into homelessness by their family of origin due to sexual orientation or gender identity. When your family tells you that who you are is fundamentally wrong, it fractures your sense of self and safety,” Jeannette K. Ruffins, CEO of Homeward NYC, said in a statement.

“LGBTQIA youth become homeless younger and are often homeless longer. With supportive housing (that’s affordable housing with built-in support services), these young adults are in a safe and affirming space where they can start to explore what they want for the future.”

Residents will pay 30 percent of their monthly income as rent, and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development will cover the difference through its 15/15 program.

HPD has provided a full 420-c tax exemption for the building, according to the governor’s office.

The new development falls under Hochul’s $25 billion Housing Plan, which promises to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across the state, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations.


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