In 1971, when the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC) was founded the Bowery was New York City's skid row, home to tens of thousands of lost souls: they were poor, addicted, sick, and disconnected from the mainstream. For them, home was a four-foot by six foot windowless flophouse cubicle with a chicken wire for a roof and "fresh" air.
But within this sparse existence these homeless men had hope and a firm belief in better days ahead.
They came together, first as the Social Rehabilitation Club for Public Inebriates, and eventually renamed themselves The Bowery Residents' Committee. Together they achieved sobriety, and gave each other thesupport to pursue their goals for a better life.
These men, with names like Jack Ryan, Clyde Burton, and Fred Cooper, didn't have much, but they had hope, and a fierce desire for another shot to improve their lot.
Today, BRC embraces the core values of our founders, and continues to provide a caring and effective community: a place of hope that they envisioned.
We empower each of the thousands of individuals we serve every year to achieve stability in health and housing and attain their greatest degree of independence and self-sufficiency. We make it possible for all the people we serve to achieve their potential, no matter how great the challenges they face.
What distinguishes BRC is that where others see the problems - addiction, mental illness, unemployment, homelessness, and poverty - we see people: individuals with strengths and potential.
When we encounter someone living underground or on the street, we see not only unnecessary suffering, we see resilience, creativity, and a fit for survival.
We don't judge, we empower. We believe in the people we serve, but we know that we must earn their trust if they are to believe we can help them.
We know that for our clients to succeed when they graduate from our programs, they have to be empowered to make choices for themselves. At BRC, we teach and we motivate. When our clients succeed, it's because they did it for no one else but themselves.
While many such services are available to New Yorkers struggling with homelessness, addiction, and mental illness, these resources are often scattered agencies and locations.
As a result, many New York City homeless residents bounce between agencies, programs, and locations, leading to failures in trust, access, and, ultimately, success.
You can help BRC continue to provide comprehensive care and support for New York City residents most in need.