Ribbon Cutting for Homeward Central Harlem

October 24, 2023

(Harlem, NY, October 24, 2023) Homeward NYC hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Homeward Central Harlem, our newest LGBTQIA-affirming supportive housing site.

Ribbon Cutting for Homeward Central Harlem: Pascale Leone (Supportive Housing Network of New York), Elizabeth Zeldin (Enterprise Community Partners), RuthAnne Visnauskas (New York State Homes and Community Renewal), Jeannette Ruffins (Homeward NYC), Mark Levine (Manhattan Borough President), Annie Tirschwell (Type A Projects), Peter Boboris (Azimuth Development Group), and Emily Lehman (NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development)

This new residence provides 50 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless young adults in an LGBTQIA-affirming environment. Supportive housing is affordable housing with onsite support services. Elected officials, government agency representatives, public and private funding partners, development partners, and leaders from local community organizations attended the event for the nine-story building near Marcus Garvey Park on W. 118th Street.

Homeward Central Harlem will house young adults earning less than 50% of the area median income and identifying as LGBTQIA or as allies wanting to live in an affirming community. Although LGBTQIA individuals are estimated at just seven percent of the total population, an astounding 40% of all homeless young adults identify as LGBTQIA.

The ceremony began with remarks from Homeward Central Harlem development and financing partners, and concluded with a building tour. Event speakers included The Honorable Mark Levine (Manhattan Borough President), Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas (New York State Homes and Community Renewal), Annie Tirschwell (Type A Projects), Jeannette Ruffins (CEO of Homeward NYC), Elizabeth Zeldin (Enterprise Community Partners), Emily Lehman (NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development), Eric Steinberg (KeyBank), Sam Ganeshan (Hudson Housing Capital), Pascale Leone (Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York), and Guido Subotovsky and Peter Boboris (Azimuth Development Group).

Homeward NYC, Type A Projects and Azimuth Development Group are co-developers for this residence. Homeward NYC is the onsite provider for housing and support services. Central Harlem is the nonprofit agency’s third residence designed to provide a supportive environment for LGBTQIA young adults. Homeward NYC’s sites in West Harlem and the Bronx each house 30 residents. With 50 units, Homeward Central Harlem will nearly double their capacity to serve LGBTQIA young adults.

Jeannette Ruffins, CEO of Homeward NYC, speaks at the Homeward Central Harlem ribbon cutting event

Jeannette K. Ruffins said, “Homeward NYC is proud to open our third supportive housing residence designed to meet the needs of LGBTQIA young adults. 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. 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.

This project would not have moved from brainstorm to bricks and mortar without our financing partners New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal, the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the City Department of Social Services, KeyBank, Hudson Housing, Enterprise Community Partners, and Freddie Mac Multifamily; and our development partners Type A Projects and Azimuth Development Group. This partnership came together with the support of City and State initiatives to increase affordable housing and decrease chronic homelessness.”

The Homeward Central Harlem team of development partners, and public and private funding partners came together with the support of City and State initiatives to increase affordable housing and decrease chronic homelessness.

Homeward NYC would like to extend a special thank you to Kossar + Garry Architects for design, to CentriTech for their services allowing us to provide free WiFi connectivity for all Homeward Central Harlem residents, and to NYS Assembly Member Inez Dickens for inviting Ricardo Aguirre, Esq. to represent her office at the ribbon cutting event.

Residents must be between ages 18 to 25 at entry; be in shelter or street homeless or be at risk of homelessness with significant housing instability; and must have experienced a high utilization of City services. This includes young adults with one or more of the following experiences: aging out of foster care, behavioral health conditions, having complex trauma, or having other barriers to independent living.

The site features 50 fully furnished studio apartments, a live-in building superintendent, 24/7 onsite security, rental assistance through the NYC 15/15 Initiative, and community spaces. Onsite services include counseling, case management for residents to access financial and health care benefits, connections to community resources, group activities, and skills-building and empowerment programs. Onsite tenant services staff include life skills coaches, case managers and clinicians.

Apply for housing


Homeward NYC is a 30-year old 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that provides housing and wraparound care services that empower homeless youth, families, and older adults to live life forward. In addition to the new Central Harlem site, Homeward NYC owns and operates two other LGBTQIA-affirming young adult supportive housing sites (West Harlem and the Bronx), as well as an intergenerational building that is a transitional family shelter for homeless mothers and their children and affordable housing for low-income and homeless seniors. At each housing site, Homeward NYC provides support services including case management, life skills, counseling, community partnerships, and group activities.