Single-Site Integrated Housing: The Times Square, New York City

The benefits of integrating individuals with severe mental illness into mixed-use affordable housing include the potential to reduce stigma, lessen community resistance ("Not In My Back Yard” or NIMBY), and increase opportunities for recovery. The Times Square’s 652 units make it the largest permanent supportive housing residence in the nation. It is one of the first to serve a mixed population of low-income and formerly homeless adults, people with serious mental illness, and people living with HIV/AIDS. People who work in low-wage jobs in Manhattan’s theater district often seek residence in the Times Square, along with the special populations the facility was designed to serve. A former “grand hotel” that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel had become crime-ridden and was in considerable disrepair when it was purchased by the New York City nonprofit Common Ground in 1991. After a $50 million renovation, the Times Square was able to offer studio apartments to its residents, along with enriched onsite services. The Times Square has a computer lab, a library, an art studio, a medical clinic, rehearsal space, 24-hour laundry facilities, and 24-hour security. Case management, recreational activities, and self-sufficiency workshops are also provided. The building’s large lobby is used to display the work of resident artists, and the community room on the top floor with its dramatic city views is used for tenant events and is available for rent to the general public (www.breakingground.

org).

 
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