Agency of the Month

The New York Nonprofit Press April 2014 edition featured Project Renewal as the Agency of the Month!

DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor commented: “Throughout its rich and venerable history, Project Renewal has demonstrated great innovation and ingenuity in the field of homeless services, and employs programs that enable more clients to transition back to self-sufficiency."

Click here to read more

12 Must-Know Facts about Women and Homelessness

  1. Among industrial nations, the US has the largest number of homeless women and the highest number on record since the Great Depression. 1
  2. An estimated 50% of all homeless people are women. 2
  3. Up to 92% of homeless women have experienced severe sexual or physical assault at some point in their lives. 3
  4. 57% of homeless women cite sexual or domestic violence as the direct cause of their homelessness. 1
  5. 63% have been victims of violence from an intimate partner. 3
  6. 32% have been assaulted by their current or most recent partner. 3 

  7. 50% of homeless women experience a major depressive episode after becoming homeless. 1
  8. Homeless women have three times the normal rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 1
  9. Homeless women are twice as likely to have drug and alcohol dependencies. 1
  10. Homeless women between 18 to 44 years old are 5 to 31 times more likely to die than women in the general population. 4
  11. Homeless women in their mid-fifties are as physiologically aged as housed women in their seventies. 1
  12. Victims of domestic violence experience major barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing and often return to their abusers because they cannot find long-term housing. 5




1. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless:!userfiles/TheCharacteristicsofHomelessWomen_lores3.pdf

2. Homeless Women & Children: The Problem and the Solution

3. National Alliance to end Homelessness

4. Homelessness in the United States: History, Epidemiology, Health Issues, Women, and Public Policy Med Scape 

5. A. Correia, Housing and Battered Women: A Case Study of Domestic Violence Programs in Iowa (Harrisburg: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 1999) accessed via "The Dangerous Shortage of Domestic Violence Services"

20 years ahead of the times

This year's annual anniversary celebration of the Ft. Washington Men's Shelter had a special guest--the new NYC Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Michele Ovesey.

Celebrating Ft. Washington

The New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Michele Ovesey (center) with Project Renewal President & CEO Mitchell Netburn (Left) and Dr. Norbert Sander, executive director of The Armory Foundation at The New Balance Track & Field Center.

Commissioner Ovesey commended the width breadth of Project Renewal programs. She said,

"I was amazed that Project Renewal was working on preventing homelessness and treating the underlying causes as early as 1967, a good 20 years before they were widely known."

Congrats staff and clients on 17 years!

Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration
Ft Washington 17 year Celebration

Fletcher Residence Delivers Eco-friendly Innovation


How do we do it?

  • ƒƒConvective heating and cooling with custom window valences
  • ƒƒ“Extra” insulated apartments block out noise, odors, and outside temperatures
  • ƒƒBuilding exterior is continuously insulated for maximum performance
  • ƒƒPlanters on “pop outs” hold trailing vines that will shade windows from western summer sun.


From the Archives! Sprint 2012 -- Having a key means everything

Meet the tenants of Fletcher Residence

The west wing, Fletcher Residence, is home to 55 mentally-ill men and women in their own studio apartments. Patricia was one of the first tenants to move in: “I love living here. I prayed for a place to live by Christmas and lo and behold on December 20th I moved in!”

“They are thrilled,” said Program Manager Peter Bazeley of the new tenants. “We have 13 admitted since December 20th and interviews are going on right now. We have stacks of applications, about ten applications for every opening. Most tenants will come directly from shelters, including our own shelters, New Providence and Fort Washington.”

The men and women at Fletcher Residence receive long-term training to achieve lasting stability, work on sobriety issues if necessary, work on community integration skills, and daily living skills. Explains Peter, “Independent housing is the final goal so now is the time to start developing the skills necessary to live independently in the community. Tenants are encouraged to make friendships outside of the program and engage in ordinary community activities such as going to the library, the movies or shopping. We have no curfew; residents can pretty much come and go as they please. We have medication supervision and money management when needed. We have a nurse, a psychiatrist once a week and case managers who work directly with the residents.”

As tenants settle in they are introduced to each other and have community meetings to talk about the skills they will be working on, including a cooking workshop to be held in the tenants’ apartments.

Patricia is enjoying her apartment’s many amenities. “I have a state of the art kitchen, refrigerator, flat screen TV, and a very comfortable bed with a comforter and sheets. They provide you with everything! I have a microwave, a working stove, a walk-in closet and I have a beautiful bathroom.” But more than anything, she is grateful for something that anyone else might take for granted…“It’s such a blessing to own a key to my own home. Having a key means everything after you’ve been homeless.”

Meet Harry!

You might have seen Harry as a homeless man on the train years ago. Since childhood he has lived on the streets and spent almost 30 years in prison during his life. But now Harry is back! It is our honor to introduce you to Harry Dickerson, who gives us hope for New Yorkers still struggling to reclaim their lives.

Watch his story and be inspired!

Medical Department Receives National Award from SAMHSA for Excellence in Addiction Treatment

The Primary Care Department received a 2013 Science and Service Award for Office-Based Opiod Treatment in recognition of its innovative use of buprenorphine as an accessible option for homeless patients.  This model of care support SAMHSA’s priorities for addiction treatment including: recovery support services, integrated behavioral and primary health care services, hepatitis prevention and treatment services, practices that encourage patient choice in treatment planning, administrative practices that promote retention, access to care, and service/cost effectiveness and efficiency, and the use of electronic health records.

What does this mean?  With the primary care clinic at 3rd Street co-located with 2 detox programs and The Recovery Center, patients withdrawing from heroin and other opioids can find a “one-stop shop” of integrated health care and recovery support.  This means they are more likely to stay in care.  In 2012 the average treatment was 361 days which is impressive.  Medical Director Roslynnn Glicksman states: “As long as clients are in treatment, they are presumed to be free of illicit drug use and all that entails – overdose risk, illegal activity and risk of arrest, risk associated with intravenous drug use, and so on. So longer treatment is better.  In that time, patients are also improving their housing situation and working on health and recovery issues.  There is no limit to how long someone can be on buprenorphine maintenance. Addiction itself is a chronic condition with relapses likely and so treatment can and should continue.”

Congratulations to the Medical Department and all staff working with clients in this practice – another example of innovation in helping homeless men and women rebuild their lives!

primary care collage

Project Renewal's Culinary Arts Training Program a Top 10 in Innovative Nonprofit Awards

…Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program honored for success

Bloomberg and Mitchell 010 edited
Mayor Bloomberg announces CATP innovation finalist

By: Mitchell Netburn, President & CEO

I am proud that our Culinary Arts Training Program was selected by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity as a Top 10 Finalist for the first annual Innovative Nonprofit Awards.  At an awards ceremony with Mayor Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, Project Renewal and nine other nonprofits were recognized for their impact in breaking the cycle of poverty.  The Mayor cited our innovative approaches and evidence-based practices that help clients train for and secure jobs in the food service industry.

Congratulations to CATP Director and Founder Barbara Hughes, to Executive Chef Anthony O’Connor, and to all the staff and program graduates who have proven the program’s success over 17 years.

“The finalists stand out for making use of best practices and for representing a new way of doing business that can contribute to reducing poverty in New York City.

NYC Innovative Nonprofit Awards recognize community partners who have used data analysis to achieve excellence, while also encouraging other nonprofits to innovate and compete.”

-Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The Center for Economic Opportunity spotlighted CATP for innovation and impact training homeless men and women for jobs in food service.

  • 1,279 men and women with transformed lives and hope for the future
  • Graduates earn an average hourly wage of $9.75
  • Despite high barriers, 80% of graduates are placed in jobs

Please support this outstanding program by joining me at our annual Gala or making a gift today.  Your support will put more CATP graduates on the path to jobs and financial security.

Read more about CAPT from CEO Report

Watch Video Celebrating 70th Graduating Class

CATP Class May 2013

Client’s Speak Out to End Homelessness

Homelessness can rob a person of their sense of independence and self-worth. But as the men and women we work with regain their health, self-sufficiency, and housing we empower them to become their own advocate.

A newly formed coalition—United to End Homelessness—launched their campaign on the steps of City Hall last month, and our clients were there to make their voice heard. Joseph White, Recreation Specialist at Ft. Washington Men’s Shelter, reports on the day:


By: Joseph White

April 9th was a very good day; I and several clients went down to City Hall and joined with the United to End Homelessness campaign to speak about the importance of housing. The steps of City Hall were filled with various organizations that all came together for the same cause.

The Homeless United demonstration held on the steps of City Hall was an inspirational and uplifting event.  It was an event that stood for Hope and Fairness, an event that brought different organizations from all over the city together.  In a united fashion, over two hundred strong, we stood.  We stood and we were heard. THE STEPS OF CITY HALL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

Several clients attended; here are their experiences in their own words:

Derrick Neptune

My experience at the demonstration was very fulfilling for myself and the benefit for others that are homeless. I feel like I’m a part of a revolution for the neglected.

Michael Jordan

It was one of the most uplifting experiences I had in my life. I met very important people who gave me hope. The system works if you work the system. I’m looking forward to housing, and I’m also looking forward to participating in any other future events that support my cause.

Jose Rodriguez

I felt like I was a part of something big.

John Webb

It was hot but I was happy to be here.

Matthew Pukala

It was an honor to be here, I felt like I helped my cause. I gained a sense of what it is like to be in a situation representing the public in a matter of importance to many people.

It was a great day for the men.  I always love when the clients feel like they’re a part of the solution and the world.

A special thank you to Ft. Washington Director Etta Graham for setting up and organizing the field trip for us.


United to End Homelessness

United to End Homelessness is a new coalition of advocates, homeless and formerly homeless individuals, service providers, faith leaders, and experts on the issue of homelessness in New York City.

Learn More Here

Staff and Tenants Visit NYC City Hall to Rally for Supportive Housing

Supportive housing ends homelessness!  Geffner House staff members joined City Council Member Annabel Palma at a City Hall rally on March 18 to urge restoration of social service funding slashed in the Mayor’s proposed budget for FY 2014.

Clinical Director Amy DeFilippi (lower left) gave her first-hand account of how case managers help tenants regain health and stay out of shelters, prisons, and emergency rooms.  Her work experience is backed up by a 2010 HASA study that found that on-site case managers reduced emergency room visits by 90% and resulted in savings of $80,000 in acute care PER person per year.

In Amy’s own words:

The right to housing and the right to healthcare are necessary, together, to end homelessness in New York.  Homelessness and poor health are locked in a cycle of cause and effect.  Poor health puts one at risk for homelessness, as it is estimated that one half of the personal bankruptcy cases in the US are caused by health problems.  Many of these people, particularly those with mental health and substance abuse problems, end up in the costly shelter system and flood our emergency rooms with needs better served by primary care physicians.  

Supportive housing works to end the cycle of homelessness for our city’s neediest people.  It is a permanent solution to homelessness that links people with mental illnesses, substance abuse issues, HIV/AIDS to cost affective, affordable and stable homes.   With on-site case management and a full time clinical staff, tenants have the support they need to address their ongoing health, mental health, and addiction issues. 

I am the Clinical Director Project Renewal’s Geffner House, a 307 unit SRO, or Single Room Occupancy, in Times Square.  A large percentage of our clients are from HASA.  In New York City alone there are 4,500 tenants with HIV/AIDS living in supportive housing.  I have been working as a supervisor and case manager for several years and in this time I have seen the work that on-site case management does to stabilize people which limits their recidivism into the shelter system, prison, and emergency rooms. 

In working with one of my clients I have witnessed his four yearly inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations dwindle to two years without any inpatient visits.  With my support he has found the right mental health providers to stabilize him psychiatrically, and I have provided him with the consistent reminders necessary to take all of his medications daily.  He has now developed a healthy routine that he did not feel was possible from his many years of being street homeless.  With my support and encouragement he has established consistent medical services.  The stability in his health has given him the courage to battle his 45 year substance abuse and dependence problems.  I am happy to say that he is now one year sober and counting.  He attributes this to the daily support and encouragement our consistent therapeutic relationship has provided him.  To use his words “you have reminded me that I have something to live for”. 

I have come here today to say that the proposed budget cuts will not save tax-payers money.  Churchill, Truman, Dostoyevsky have all said something along the lines of “A society is indeed measured on how we treat our most vulnerable population”.  If we truly believe this as a society, then these proposed budget cuts are preposterous.   They won’t save our city money, but they will deprive some of our most needy fellow New Yorkers of the much needed services and support required to live an independent life.  

These proposed cuts will not save tax payers money.  In 2010 HASA did an analysis of HASA funded supportive housing sponsored by Harlem United.  They found that the result of on-site case managers reduced emergency room visits by 90%, and nursing home reliance by 54%.  This resulted in a savings of $80,000 dollars in acute care PER person per year.

I am here to thank you for restoring the budget cuts from last year, and to thank the City Council for its ongoing support of HASA programs.  But I am here, for the third year in a row, to ask you to continue to make supportive housing programs a priority for some of our neediest New Yorkers and to restore the proposed budget cuts.

More photos from the day 

We Heart NYC: Improving the health of homeless New Yorkers

Alarmingly, homeless New Yorkers have a 1.5- to 11.5-times greater risk of dying relative to the general population, depending on age, gender, shelter status, and incidence of disease.

But the causes are changing.

According to this 2012 study by the NYC Department of Homeless Services, the top cause of death for both the NYC homeless population and the general population is heart disease.[1]  

Regular visits with a primary care provider are essential to identifying heart disease and helping homeless patients to manage this health condition before it escalates to crisis levels. Our comprehensive services to homeless New Yorkers include integrated healthcare—patients are connected to care through our shelter-based clinics, medical vans, and referrals in our transitional and permanent housing residences.

Prevention begins on the streets where our medical vans are providing critical interventions to assess patients’ heart disease risk: in the past year, we assessed 61% of clients for cardiovascular disease risk.  The vans are also reducing patients’ risk by helping them to manage co-occurring conditions which could lead to heart disease, such as smoking and high blood pressure. In the past year, our vans provided tobacco cessation interventions to 77% of patients and helped 60% of hypertensive patients to control their blood pressure levels.



[1] NYC DHS. Bronx Health and Housing Consortium: Opportunities for Collaboration. Shared Approaches to Death Prevention Among Homeless Individuals. Dec. 2012

US Department of Health and Human Services spotlights Project Renewal for quality healthcare


view it on HRSA’s site

download a PDF here



Project Renewal: Homeless Patients, High Quality Healthcare February 2013 Quality Improvement Grantee Spotlight

To successfully treat more than 8,600 homeless patients a year, you have to be dedicated and diligent. HRSA-supported health center Project Renewal finds that it also pays to hold yourself to the same quality standards as providers who practice in a less challenging environment.

  1. Deploy an interoperable electronic health record? Check.
  2. Qualify for the Federal Meaningful Use incentive program? Done.
  3. Integrate the principles of the National Quality Strategy? In process.
  4. Achieve the goals of Healthy People 2020? All on board.

Controlling hypertension is never easy, but when your patients tend to seek care irregularly, move frequently, have a high prevalence of both chronic and acute conditions and distrust the medical system, it seems almost impossible.

But that’s exactly what Project Renewal has done. In 2011, 51 percent of hypertensive patients had their blood pressure under control; a 2012 chart review shows the number has climbed to 60 percent, thanks to close monitoring of medication compliance with an assist from local pharmacy students working with the program.

Go to the Mountain

Knowing that the many homeless patients will not come to Project Renewal, Project Renewal goes to the homeless patients.

Exterior of a Care Van used by Project Renewal for mobil clinics

Three mobile clinics (CARE – A – VANS), certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Level 1 Patient Centered Medical Homes, regularly and at all hours go to homeless shelters, emergency housing and even New York City parks where homeless people are known to congregate.

They start small, first just walking around and becoming familiar to the homeless people. Over time, their presence in the community earns a level of trust and they begin to offer health services.

Because hypertension is so common and such a health threat, Project Renewal focuses on its prevention and treatment by providing health checks that include blood pressure and cholesterol testing at the first opportunity.

Interior of a care van used in Project Renewal

To help ensure patients follow treatment plans and remain in care, Project Renewal connects patients with other resources, verifies their eligibility for Medicaid and uses the electronic health record to schedule follow up appointments, order medications and exchange patient health information across providers.

Patients who later seek care at another Project Renewal mobile or freestanding clinic find providers who have instant access to their full health records and are fully prepared to respond in a patient-focused way that is consistent across providers.

Across the ocean, the issues (and answers) are the same


A Dutch client shares his story with the group.

Even across the ocean, the issues facing homeless men and women with mental illness remain urgent and complicated.

A group of clients and staff from the Netherlands visited Clinton Residence and Safe Haven. This unique gathering allowed both groups to exchange knowledge, programmatic information, success stories, hospitality, recovery, treatment and friendship.

The room was filled with upbeat energy and lots of laughs as together they celebrated Clinton Resident client Benito’s 59th Birthday. The Dutch clients brought the gift of a special cheese knife from the Netherlands to share with Benito something unique and characteristic of their culture. With a large smile Benito claimed, “Living here gets better all the time.”


Bentoumi, a client accompanying the Netherlands group, is originally from Morocco  and here he serenades  the group with a song in Arabic. He said, “With big changes in your life you always need some people who help you further and give you the strength and motivation to survive during your recovery and reintegration process. With the help of others, you can change, move forward in your life.”

8 Facts You Need to Know about Housing First

William Ghee - In Homes Now
  1. Housing First emerged because early interventions—focused on services—weren’t seeing results. by the mid-1990s, there were over 40,000 programs addressing homelessness; very few of them focused on housing.
  2. Housing First says something that is fairly intuitive—that people do better when they are stabilized in housing as soon as possible. Unstable housing impedes the effectiveness of interventions to address people’s problems. Homeless people themselves recognize this and generally identify housing to be their first priority.
  3. It’s a 3-Step Process:1) Crisis resolution and assessment to address immediate problems and then identify housing needs. 2) Housing placement, including strategies to deal with bad tenant and credit histories, identify units, negotiate with landlords, and access rent subsidies. 3) Service connections to provide housed people with services, or connect them to services in the community.
  4. It works most effectively for those who are chronically homeless. Chronically homeless people are those who spend years—sometimes decades—homeless. Most also have disabilities like severe mental illness and substance use disorders. Destitute, disabled, and with no place to live, they interact frequently with expensive publicly-funded systems such as jails, emergency rooms, and hospitals. Housing First can save public money as people reduce their use of these acute care systems.
  5. Rapid rehousing is another name for a Housing First intervention used for families and individuals who become homeless for economic reasons.  It provides rent deposits and/or a limited number of months of rent assistance. Sometimes this serves as a bridge to longer-term rental assistance (such as Section 8 or even permanent supportive housing). Rapid rehousing strategies generally address services needed by linking re-housed households to existing services in the community, although direct services are sometimes provided.
  6. At least among the highest need people, the cost of housing can be offset by significant savings to public systems of care. housing of high-need people may more than pay for itself in savings to publicly supported systems like emergency shelter, medical care, and law enforcement, and is a cost effective way to support children and families.
  7. The structure of budget-making makes implementing Housing First difficult. Spending money on housing in order to save money on health care, incarceration, and so on, is difficult in a siloed public policy environment with annual appropriations. Savings in one silo (say, health care) do not necessarily accrue to another silo (say, housing). Those responsible for public budgets are not always persuaded by the argument that spending in one fiscal year would result in savings in another if they cannot access those savings to offset the initial spending.
  8. To succeed, it needs the attention of those concerned with housing and health, not just homelessness. Housing advocates need to build new partnerships with the medical community and business leaders concerned about health care costs. These institutions are also, often, well-positioned in a community to lead or sponsor collaborative solutions, for instance pooling investments in housing and public health infrastructures. It makes sense for housing advocates to continue to build the case that housing is a cost-effective intervention that can improve outcomes in a host of other areas including health care, corrections, employment, and education.

See someone in need of help?

Street Outreach in 1970's (3)

NYC Department of Homeless Services

Call 311 for:

  • Information on accessing shelter services including directions to family and single adult intake centers, or
  • Mobile street outreach services to request that an outreach team visit an individual in need
  • Locate adult drop-in centers, including 24-hour drop-In centers and those open from 7:30am-8:30pm

Hunger Hotline

(866) 888-8777

  • For a nearby meal or food pantry

Human Resources Administration InfoLine

(718) 557-1399

  • Food Stamps and emergency food programs
  • Public health insurance (Medicaid)
  • Temporary cash assistance and benefits
  • Domestic Violence Support

Project Renewal Progams

Medical Detox (8 East 3rd Street, 2nd Floor)

(212) 533-8400 x360

Crisis Center (8 East 3rd Street, 4th Floor)

(212) 763-0596

Recovery Center Outpatient Counseling

(212) 533-8400 x361

Next Step Employment Program

(646) 581-4433

Culinary Arts Training Program

(212) 533-8400 x130

ScanVan Women’s Health Screenings

(631) 581-4171

  • Provides free mammograms to low-income women without health insurance, also accepts health insurance
  • View Schedule Here

Is Housing First the Answer?

In Homes Now Holiday Cookie Decorating Party

In Homes Now is the first supportive housing project specifically designed for homeless people who are active users of drugs and/or alcohol. This year we break ground on 56 new apartments to expand this pioneering client-centered approach.

Called “Housing First,” our model program launched in 2003 at a time when there were no such housing options for homeless individuals with active substance use issues, who did not also have a serious mental illness or HIV/AIDS. Our housing first model works - 80% of our residents have successfully remained in housing for 3 years and 95% have a stable income.

This spring we will break ground on a new residence with 57 studio apartments on Villa Avenue in the Bronx, expanding the program to reach even more men and women who are shut out of traditional housing options. 

We will also expand out scattered-site apartment program to include 10 family units for the first time. This effort will support families where the head of the household is graduating from recovery (substance abuse). This innovative adaption of the program will include partnerships with scores of agencies in the community that are currently helping children and parents stay healthy and strong.

To learn more about Housing First and our success with the model, you can click here to download a report from CASA, the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Here is an excerpt:

Yet despite growing national attention and its federal endorsement, Housing First models continued to represent a small subset of New York City’s supportive housing. The Housing First models that did exist were limited to individuals with serious mental illness (e.g. Pathways to Housing) or persons living with HIV/AIDS (e.g. Housing Works or Bailey House), and the Housing First model remained out of reach for the sizeable number of homeless individuals with addiction issues who had neither a serious mental illness nor HIV/AIDS.

It was not until 2003 that New York City would obtain its first Housing First supportive housing program for homeless individuals with active substance use issues, who did not have a serious mental illness or HIV/AIDS. In that year, Project Renewal, a provider of comprehensive services for homeless individuals, received a grant through the federal Collaborative Initiative to End Chronic Homelessness demonstration program, and used it to create 60 units of scattered-site supportive housing for individuals identified as chronically homeless who had active addiction issues. This program, In Homes Now, was New York City’s first Housing First supportive housing project specifically targeted at homeless people who were active users of drugs and/or alcohol.

The program was later incorporated into and expanded through the NY/NY III’s supportive housing for Population E.

HOPE Housing First Impl Focus p16

Board Voice: Q&A With Dr. Jules Ranz, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center

Project Renewal Trustee Jules Ranz recognized for excellence in psychiatric training

I spoke to trustee Jules Ranz to catch up about his work as the Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center and how that works with his role as a Project Renewal Trustee (a position he has held since 1995). Turns out he was just endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association for contributions to field of psychiatry:

“I’ve spent my entire career in the public sector, the last 30 years as Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia.  My mentor at the time was Dr. Christian Beels, a trustee at Project Renewal.  He encouraged me to join the Board.  It’s the only board I’ve served on, and I have valued my board service for several reasons.

The Public Psychiatry Fellowship is the largest training fellowship in the country and until about 10 years ago, it was the only one.  We train 10 Fellows a year to prepare for psychiatric service in the public sector.  With more psychiatrists going to work in organizational settings than to a private practice, there is a growing need for this specialized training.  The Fellows we accept have already completed 4 years of medical school followed by 4 years of residency.  The Fellows spend a year with us in classwork and field work integrating theory and practice.  The field work is a 3 day a week placement in a community organization like Project Renewal.  The goal is to use the agency as a training site with the hope that the Fellow gets hired at the site at the end.  This happens about 60-70% of the time. 

Project Renewal takes a Fellow just about every year and most Fellows who stay in New York City stay on at Project Renewal as a staff member.  So most of the psychiatrists at Project Renewal have been trained by us!  And, all three Medical Directors for Psychiatry came through the Fellowship (Hunter McQuistion, Elizabeth Oudens, and now Allison Grolnick.)  I take a lot of pride in helping Project Renewal create a cadre of effective psychiatrists dedicated to helping homeless men and women.

Project Renewal is a leader in New York City in providing the most comprehensive services for homeless New Yorkers.  It excels in providing the entire package – recovery, medical, dental, psychiatry, employment, and housing.  I feel deeply connected to Project Renewal’s mission and to its success.  I bring a clinical background and expertise in public psychiatry to the Board.  In return, Project Renewal’s Program Directors are frequent presenters at Board meetings so I get to hear first-hand about the effectiveness of its programs.”

Project Renewal Trustee Jules Ranz recognized for excellence in psychiatric training

The American Psychiatric Association awarded its 2013 Vestermark Award to Dr. Jules Ranz for outstanding contributions to the education and development of psychiatrists.  The award is jointly supported by APA and the National Institute of Mental Health.  Dr. Ranz was recognized for his excellence, leadership, and creativity in the field of psychiatric education.  He is the Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center and has been a Project Renewal Trustee since 1995.

Give HOPE this Season: Help homeless men and women find a new life and reunite with their families

Harry Dickerson

Harry Dickerson was one of the homeless men you may have passed on the street.

“I remember there were times I would be on the train and I’d be so embarrassed because I was dirty. And I used to just look for a hole to crawl into.”

But when he reached bottom and decided to turn his life around, we were there for Harry because of gifts from people like you.“Project Renewal gave me a chance and stood next to me and they‘re still next to me.”  

Harry is one of thousands of once-homeless people who found ways to rebuild their lives through Project Renewal’s assistance with permanent housing, employment, overnight shelter, addiction treatment, and much, much more.

Next year thousands of homeless men and women will reach the same point that Harry did, mustering the courage to believe they can have more for their lives.

With your help we can be there for them like we were for Harry.

When Harry was only 11 years old, his mother suddenly died.  He and his brothers were alone.

They were forced to grow up too fast.  They had too few positive influences.  And sadly, his brothers couldn’t survive the streets … all three died young. 

By the time Harry turned to Project Renewal, he had already spent eight-and-a-half years in prison.  He was homeless and addicted to drugs.  

But he did not give up. In fact, Harry made it.  

Harry said, it’s not how you start out at the gate, it’s how you finishToday I’ve been in my apartment three years, I’m in my 5th year with the job I’m at, I’ve never worked anywhere for 5 years. My job is important to me, I’m doing something, I’m being productive not just to society but to me. By me being good to me, it rubs off on society.

Your gift today rubs off on society tomorrow. Please give generously and show New Yorkers like Harry that you believe they can do it.


Mitchell Netburn

President & CEO

P.S. There’s still time to make a tax-deductible gift for 2012. Thank you for helping a neighbor in need.

2012 Annual Report: Renewing Lives. Reclaiming Hope.

Our Annual Report has a new look! This is a great introduction to all that we do, and recaps all the achievements that your gift made possible last year. You also get to meet Harry Dickerson, an amazing man who has achieved so much through our programs.

Skip ahead to page 10 to learn more about the great plans coming up for 2012, and contact us to learn how you can be involved.

Gift a gift this holiday season and help homeless New Yorkers like Harry get back on their feet.

Helping our Neighbors During Super Storm Sandy

Your support of Project Renewal enabled us to not only continue serving struggling New Yorkers already in our care, but to step up and help our neighbors when they needed it most.

100 Bed “Pop-up Shelter” at Ft. Washington helps displaced storm victims

By: Awilda Morton

On Monday, November 5th the Department of Homeless Services asked us to have 100 beds ready. DHS supplied cots, our maintanence team supplied linens and Comfort Foods provided the food. By the afternoon of Tuesday November 6th the shelter was open and ready for evacuees from shelters damaged by superstorm Sandy!

It went smoothly and the visiting clients used our cafeteria and common areas and we made caseworkers available to them. By Sunday everyone was able to return.

Economic Development Corporation

By: Fred Hornedo, Assistant Supervisor, Graffiti Removal

We were on standby for the storm and then after the storm hit we started to get phone calls from the people who were hit—Staten Island, Far Rockaway. We were just waiting for the word on whether they needed help. So they said get the trucks ready and fill them all up with fuel.The city mobilized the EDC teams to respond to the most devastated areas. Project Renewal had about 20-30 guys with 9 trucks plus supervisor vehicles.

When we got out there it was really bad—no power, no heat, water everywhere. It looked awful— like a disaster area.The residents had no power to run their pumps. By giving a hand we let people plug into the generators on our trucks out there with power strips plus extension cords running lines into people’s houses. Many people needed to use them to charge their cell phones so they could contact loved ones. We moved rubble, rubbish, and debris and pumped their houses. More people started coming later, but even arriving on Friday we were first responders—the National Guard, National Grid, Red Cross came later and started pitching in. But they still didn’t have power.

We gave a hand however we could with whatever we had. People had good spirits, they were happy to see us. But after the third or fourth day people were down with no power. If they had gotten power back sooner they would have been better off.

Seeing how bad it was, I didn’t realize it just from TV, it was heartbreaking. I would have run out there by myself if I had known how bad it was—I would have volunteered my time in a heartbeat. These were just regular people who didn’t ask for this.

Osmundo Robinson, Assistant Supervisor, Area Maintenance

Just devastating, shocking almost. I was speechless. People losing their houses, taking stuff out of their houses. We went out on Friday cleaning up debris that came out of the water, and we were out there two days. It was surpising, a lot worse than anyone expected. Where I live it didn’t hit that bad. But to see how it affected them was shocking. I passed by Breezy Point and it looked just like a garbage dump. We were some of the first people to show up—and that was Friday.

3rd Street Men’s Shelter

Barbara Hughes, Director, Comfort Foods and Culinary Arts Training Program

When the storm hit we were able to get the generator running immediately, which enabled us to keep the kitchens going. We opened up our doors to the neighborhood and served hundreds of extra meals, in addition to the clients staying at the shelter!

*Photo courtesy of drpavloff under Flickr Creative Commons