Housing First

Learning About Housing Policy Abroad

Director of Policy for Urban Pathways Nicole Bramstedt  

Director of Policy for Urban Pathways Nicole Bramstedt  

Nicole Bramstedt, Director of Policy at Urban Pathways took part in a unique exchange program this past April.

 The Transatlantic Practice Exchange is an opportunity for homeless staff in the U.K. and the U.S. to trade places in an effort to explore a practice and share it upon their return; this year Nicole was lucky enough to be chosen.

              Crisis UK, a homeless services organization. 

              Crisis UK, a homeless services organization. 

 Nicole spent 3 weeks working with Crisis, a 50-year old homeless organization with offices and services in England, Scotland, and Wales. Nicole’s goal was to learn what strategies Crisis uses to engage the private rental sector (PRS) to address homelessness.

 Crisis provides education, employment, housing and well-being services. Since 1997, Crisis has worked to make the (PRS) a viable housing option for the homeless. This is done by engaging the landlords, and understanding their concerns. Once the landlords concerns are heard, Crisis develops strategies to combat these issues starting pre, and during tenancy that benefit both the homeless and the landlord.

 The Tenancy Support Program begins with a housing induction to familiarize potential members with housing services. Crisis then explains the realities of the tight U.K. rental market, and the need to adjust housing expectations. Potential members then attend a Mini Renting Ready workshop that provides information on how to search for housing, the type of housing to search for, and the rent one can afford. After the workshop, members work with a housing coach and attend a “property searching club”.

 Tenancy support also aids members during tenancyby providing accredited Renting Readycourses including: housing rights, money management, and communications (tenant to tenant— tenant to landlord).

 This program enhances exit options, tenancy sustainment, and facilitates the transition to housing. According to staff at Crisis, landlords prefer tenancy support and have been more inclined to offer tenancy to individuals who have shown commitment to the program; sometimes even at lower rents.

 Landlords also prefer the consistent support by reputable providers that the tenancy program provides. Crisis engages landlords in advocacy; keeping them up to date on policy recommendations so that they are implemented, and homeless issues can be resolved.

 After her 3 week placement abroad, Nicole arrived back at Urban Pathways with the following feedback:

In the U.S. I think we need to think outside the box about addressing homelessness, all sectors should make efforts to work together. Crisis’ practices of tenancy training and engaging landlords in both housing and advocacy address the lack of information among the landlords, and the homeless.

My recommendations to improve sustaining tenancy and exit options are providing tenancy training in Shelters, Drop-In Centers, and Safe Havens. Utilizing matching programs for homeless individuals placed in shared permanent housing. Develop a housing pilot program for adults exiting transitional housing, and needing tenancy support. Finally engage landlords in homeless advocacy. “

These initiatives will aid in bridging the gap between the stakeholders, providers and the homeless.

We thank Nicole for taking part in the Transatlantic Practice Exchange and working with Crisis.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the New York Metropolitan area.  Urban Pathways serves more than 2,000 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org 

South Korean Housing Officials meet with Urban Pathways to learn more about our programs and services for New Yorks homeless.

Tuesday, March 15th, Urban Pathways met with officials from SH Corporation; a public organization from and financed by the city of Seoul, South Korea. SH Corporation, founded in 1989 has contributed to the stability and welfare of the elderly and socially vulnerable residents of South Korea by providing all things from land development to property leasing and management. After learning about how successful Urban Pathways has been with its “housing first” model, as well our accompanying programs and services that help homeless or at-risk New Yorkers, SH Corporation was excited to meet with us.

Officials from SH Corporation and the government of South Korea listen to Urban Pathways COO Ron Abad during their visit. 

Officials from SH Corporation and the government of South Korea listen to Urban Pathways COO Ron Abad during their visit. 

Members of both, SH Corporation and the South Korean government met with a welcome team from Urban Pathways that included among others; Development and Communications Director Nancy Olecki, Chief Compliance Director/QI Director Ariana Saunders, Deputy Executive Director Lisa and COO Ron Adad.

Ron explained to SH Corp. how nonprofits organizations came to be in American History, and how Urban Pathways continues to be at the forefront of nonprofit organizations that assist the homeless by implementing the “housing first” method and combining that with social services that re-acclimate individuals back into their communities.

Development and Communications Director Nancy Olecki leads the tour of the facilities at Clinton Avenue. 

Development and Communications Director Nancy Olecki leads the tour of the facilities at Clinton Avenue. 


After lunch, the Urban Pathways team took the South Korean contingent to one of their many sites across the city, the Clinton Avenue apartments in the Bronx; part of Urban Pathways permanent housing program. Here, members of SH Corp. had the chance to meet site Directors Marie Gellin, Stephen Pinks, and Solomon Canada and hear about what their daily duties are in their respective positions. Our South Korean friends then toured the facilities with Nancy meeting and speaking with residents and witnessing first-hand how Urban Pathways cares for their clients and helps reintegrate them back into society.

Urban Pathways was very happy to have met with SH Corporation during their visit to the United States. We appreciate SH Corp. taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with us and our clients and have an understanding of how UP's programs and sites operate on a daily basis. It was a learning experience for both parties, SH Corp. learned about Urban Pathways programs, sites, and the people who are apart of these daily operations. Urban Pathways learned about how the South Korean Government is handling their society of elderly and socially vulnerable and how the services and programs that are the fabric of Urban Pathways can assist in ending homelessness in South Korea. 

If your organization is interested in meeting with Urban Pathways and touring our program sites please email development@urbanpathways.org or call our office at: 212-736-7385.

Founded in 1975, Urban Pathways (UP) is a not-for-profit, social service and supportive housing organization serving homeless adults in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Urban Pathways serves as the first point of contact for New Yorkers. We engage individuals “where they at” through our strong network of social services to help individuals move into housing and minimize the likelihood of ever returning to the streets.