New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services Welcomes Low-Entry Safe Haven Beds for Homeless on the Upper East Side

Community Board 8 Votes in Support of the Safe Haven coming to the neighborhood 

Upper East Side, NY - In contrast to scenes of shelters and hotels for the homeless being protested in many neighborhoods across the city, the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services is proud to support Goddard Riverside’s plans to open 88 low-entry beds for the homeless in the community. The taskforce, a coalition of elected officials, faith, and nonprofit leaders co-founded by Council Member Ben Kallos, Senator Liz Krueger, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, is dedicated to bringing more housing and services to the homeless on the Upper East Side. Safe Haven beds offer a lower barrier to entry than shelters and are a critical tool in helping homeless off the street, with a preference for homeless in the neighborhood.

Safe Haven beds are a critical tool that outreach workers can offer chronically homeless people in a neighborhood with, fewer restrictions that mirror more independent living, along with a bevy of on-site and referral services including assistance with daily living skills, psychiatric and medical care, medication management, entitlement and budget counseling, substance abuse counseling, training in independent living skills, and recreational activities Safe Haven beds are prioritized for chronically street homeless adults and they can be helpful in getting them off the street. On January 13, 2021 Community Board 8’s Health, Seniors and Social services Committee voted unanimously to support the Safe Haven site coming to the Upper East Side.

The Safe Haven being planned is on a block zoned for manufacturing and heavy commercial use. The old Art Farm building at 419 East 91st Street will be renovated to accommodate seven floors, recreation space, and a private garden rooftop. Goddard Riverside, which is already the homeless outreach provider for the Upper East Side, will operate the 88-bed site for men and women. The Safe Haven will be pet friendly. Goddard Riverside has decades of experience operating with a private bathroom. A full cohort of services will be provided including case management, housing assistance, wellness groups, medical and psychiatric care and three meals a day plus snacks. Once operational in late 2021, there would be staff and security in the building 24/7, with security on the street from a minimum of 8AM to 6PM.

On Wednesday 1/20 this project came passed a full board vote by Community Board 8. The overwhelming support included 46 votes in support one opposed and one abstention.

“These homeless people are on our streets in our community and we finally have an opportunity to offer them a safe haven bed for the night that can get them on a path to permanent housing, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, co-founder of the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services. “This is about housing the homeless that are already in our neighborhood and I think residents will join me in supporting these beds especially since it will mean fewer homeless people on our streets. We’ve worked really hard on the Upper East Side to do more to welcome the homeless and can’t wait to work with the community to continue building public support.”

supportive housing for some of our city’s most vulnerable populations, including older adults, formerly homeless, and those with mental illness. There will be two to four beds to a room along

“When our neighbors are in need, New Yorkers reach out a helping hand, knowing that so many of us are only one stroke of bad luck away from homelessness. I am proud to join Council Member Kallos, Borough President Brewer, and the other members of ETHOS to say the Upper East Side welcomes Goddard Riverside’s planned Safe Haven. This is exactly the kind of responsible, well-run, and effective program that can have a real impact in helping our long-term homeless neighbors come in off the streets and get back on their feet. I look forward to continuing to work with Goddard Riverside, my elected colleagues, and our community to make sure this program is a success,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis, and it affects all of us," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I support Goddard Riverside and their Safe Haven bed facility on the Upper East Side which will keep people experiencing homelessness off the street and into a safe shelter. That we are able to welcome such a facility into the Upper East Side during a time of greatest need for our neighbors is an act of compassion and care."

"Streets and neighborhoods across New York City have long been home to New Yorkers without housing. We are encouraged that the Upper East Side community has been open to a partnership that moves homeless individuals from corners and under scaffolding to housing that is foundational to regaining a place in mainstream society," said Roderick L. Jones Executive Director, Goddard Riverside.

"The Urban Outreach Center is so glad to welcome this new Safe Haven facility to the Upper East Side. As New Yorkers, we should be proud that this will be a resource for our most vulnerable neighbors to receive not only quality shelter, but the services and care that will help them to take the next steps toward self-sufficiency with dignity," said Rev. Jordan Tarwater, Executive Director, The Urban Outreach Center of NYC.

“The Safe Haven is a great idea and it is important we help people feel welcome so the can accept the services, we must empathize with other and understand how they feel, We will never fully understand but we must try. I cannot street enough how much one act of kindness can make a difference to the world that is why I fully support the Safe Haven,” said Ahana 7th Grader at East Side Middle School.

“I fully support the Safe Haven, it is such an essential component in New York City, shelters do a lot of good but it can be hard for people to realize they need to be in one, there is also a lot of stigma attached with being in a shelter. This Safe Haven will help people get the resources they require for mental health and for transitioning into a permanent living situation. This will be an immense help for the homeless, and by doing this we strengthen our entire community, thank you for doing this.” said Dale 8th Grader at East Side Middle School.

“Caring for and ensuring the most basic human needs for vulnerable members of any community is a moral imperative. The new Safe Haven shelter operated by Goddard-Riverside will extend such care in a dignified and holistic way. Avenue Church NYC is humbled to be in community with these seniors now as they seek shelter in our streets and is grateful for Council Member Kallos, Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Seawright and the other members of ETHOS who are working to provide them with a Safe Haven in Yorkville,” said The Reverend Beverly Dempsey, Pastor of Avenue Church NYC

Safe Havens like the one proposed by Goddard Riverside are important for people living on the street who may be reluctant to enter traditional shelters for a variety of reasons. By reducing barriers, these programs make it more likely that an individual will accept a bed—which at a minimum ensures their immediate safety, and hopefully will be an important first step toward a more lasting solution.”,” said Ann L. Shalof Chief Executive Office at Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter.

“As a long-time resident of the Upper East Side and member of ETHOS, I have seen first-hand the need to provide small temporary housing to homeless in-crisis neighbors.  Many we pass on our sidewalks and doorways are fearful of entering the immense New York City shelter system, and a safe-haven type of residence operated by the well-known and respected Goddard-Riverside organization will be a welcome possibility for them.  I applaud the New York City Department of Homeless Services and Goddard-Riverside for this cutting-edge effort to address the ever-increasing need for shelter and supportive social services, “said Faith Fraser, ETHOS member.


Council Member Kallos launched the
Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services (DSS), community, and faith leaders and service organizations. The taskforce works to get every unsheltered person living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training. By connecting our dedicated nonprofits and religious institutions with city services, ETHOS is really making a difference.

The Department of Homeless Services is an active partner in the
Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Services, which was launched in late 2015 by Council Member Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Senator Liz Krueger as a way of combining the efforts of the local faith-based and non-profit organizations, electeds, and city agencies to help homeless individuals off the street and to the services they require. In June 2018, Council Member Ben Kallos represented ETHOS in cutting the ribbon on Howard Amron House, an 11-unit supportive housing building operated by Urban Pathways in his district. In the summer of 2019 ETHOS members including Council, Member Kallos welcomed a Win Supportive Housing Facility for Women and Children to the Neighborhood, cutting the ribbon of 17 new one and two-bedroom apartments dedicated to homeless women and their children.  In the fall of 2020, the East Side Taskforce for Homeless Services also teamed up with The Urban Outreach Center and Avenue church to open a super-market style pantry dedicated to serving residents in need. Both community centers are just steps away from Council Member Kallos’ district office and home.


ETHOS Providers:

Office of Council Member Ben Kallos
Office of Manhattan Borough President Brewer
Office of State Senator Liz Krueger
Office of Council Member Keith Powers
Department of Homeless Services
Human Resource Administration
The Urban Outreach Center of NYC
Avenue Church
Church of the Epiphany
St. James’ Church
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church
Jan Hus Presbeteryian Church
All Souls Church
Park Avenue Christian Church
Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church
Congregation Or Zarua
Temple Shaaray Tefila
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
New York Common Pantry
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell
Community Board 8
New York Public Library- Webster Branch
Urban Pathways
Park Avenue Women's ShelterGoddard Riverside
Bronx Parent Housing Network
Women In Need


Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.