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Midtown’s homeless shelter will close after 35 years

A homeless shelter in Manhattan with a banner on an awning that reads “community for all” is about to close.

The MainChance shelter for singles will close soon unless the contract with the Ministry of Social Affairs is extended.


What you need to know

  • Jermaine Burton said he benefited from MainChance’s services. He secured permanent housing through the facility
  • This year is expected to surpass the more than 70,000 meals served last year, officials said
  • MainChance moved to its current location in 2005 and started in St. Agnes Church in 1989

The facility was warned by the city earlier this month that it would have to close its doors on June 30.

The shelter provides a variety of services, including three meals a day, showers, a place to sleep and assistance in securing permanent housing.

Jermaine Burton knows firsthand the help the center provides.

“I’m so happy to get a spot,” Burton said.

He attended MainChance for the first time in October.

Burton is a home health aide and will soon be able to live in a studio in the Bronx near where he works.

The drop-in shelter is part of the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation, which opened in 1989 due to the need for homeless people near St. Agnes Church.

In 2005, it moved to its current location at 120 East 32nd St.

Burton described the process he completed in securing housing and other assistance he received from the facility.

“First intake and then you get to work on getting a voucher. It takes about a month,” Burton said. “They have a place to sleep on the first floor and they provide you with three meals a day.”

Brady Crain, MainChance’s executive director, cited the “excellent” and “good” grades the center received. He also responded to the message he received from the city about the need to close.

“I’m amazed and can’t understand what’s going on,” he said

In a report prepared by the city’s Department of Homeless Services for the City Council, the site was described as “underperforming.”

According to the report, the closure will save city funds $3.7 million for the 2025 and 2026 budget years.

Elected leaders wrote a letter to the mayor in support of keeping the facility open.

The letter states that this year the company is on track to surpass last year’s more than 70,000 meals. It also says that without MainChance’s services, New Yorkers will be “isolated” from the assistance they need for “food, medical services and to begin or continue their journey to permanent housing.”

The city Department of Social Services, which oversees the city’s Department of Homeless Services, released this statement saying it has “more than doubled outreach staff and aggressively expanded specialized resources, including safe havens, stabilization beds and drop-in centers throughout the city. ”

Despite the expected closure of MainChance, Burton shares his hopes for the future.

“The help I received from MainChance was a great experience. I will be very sad if they close this place because everyone will miss opportunities like this because they really helped me,” Burton said.

Nearly a thousand New Yorkers have transitioned to permanent housing this year, according to the DSS.

Crain said he plans to explore this further with the help of elected leaders.