July 1, 1989
273 SRO (single room occupancy) units for persons with very low incomes, persons with experience of homelessness, and preexisting tenants
Architect: Cetra/Ruddy Architects
General Contractor: Sparrow Construction
Major Funders: NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and National Equity Fund
Section 8 Vouchers
NYC Department of Homeless Services, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Euclid Hall was originally built as luxury housing. Competition from even more luxurious apartments in the neighborhood meant it never really took off as a luxury building. During the housing shortage in NYC during the Second World War, Euclid became a residential hotel for the well-to-do. When WSFSSH took over the building in 1989, there were still several very old ladies living there who remembered the days when there were red carpets and crystal chandeliers in the hallways. But those days were long gone by the 1980s. The Euclid, a derelict block wide building on Broadway between 85th and 86th Street had become a notorious landmark in the neighborhood. There was so much crime there that the police had it circled in red on the precinct map and neighbors from those years remember crossing the street to avoid walking in front of it. Most of the neighborhood wanted the Euclid to be rehabilitated; WSFSSH wanted to make sure it was restored as a safe and affordable SRO. WSFSSH negotiated and negotiated and eventually was able to purchase the building from its private owner, taking possession in July, 1989.
WSFSSH bought the Euclid in 1989, but delays in capital funding contracts meant that it was several years before full scale renovation could begin. Between the time WSFSSH entered into discussions about purchase of the Euclid and the time the first scaffolding was erected around the building, the immediate neighborhood had changed. Rumors, most of them false, multiplied in the neighborhood. A great deal of time was spent, by the Executive Director, by Board members, by community allies affirming the true nature of the project (SRO housing for pre-existing tenants and formerly homeless people, many living with mental illnesses) and correcting misinformation (not “the back ward of a psychiatric hospital moved into Manhattan without enough staff”). Some neighbors were never convinced, but many people who came to the meetings began to see the project for what it was: safe affordable housing run by an organization that cared about being good neighbors. In fact, one of neighbors most vehement and concerned about the project is now a staunch member of the community advisory board and regularly contributes her food and her presence at Christmas Dinner at Euclid Hall.
Euclid Hall, now completely renovated, provides permanent housing to over 272 people. Euclid Hall is also home to the WSFSSH administrative offices.