The Dwelling Place of NY, a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY, is a privately-funded 15 bed transitional residence for homeless women located in Midtown Manhattan. At the time of its founding, Sister Nancy Chiarello and four other members of the Allegany Franciscans were nurses working at St. Clare’s Hospital in Manhattan. From their apartment nearby the hospital they would see homeless women searching through their garbage cans looking for food. This heartbreaking scene compelled the sisters to ask their congregation for approval to open a shelter for homeless women who were becoming more numerous and visible in the Times Square/Midtown area. With the support of their congregation and Cardinal Cooke, the archdiocesan building located at 409 W. 40th Street became “home” for many women beginning in October of 1977.
The ministry of The Dwelling Place has evolved over the years to meet the ever changing face of homelessness. Yet its mission remains steadfast, to offer safe shelter and individualized care, support, and guidance to homeless women as they build a sustainable, self-supported life-style.
Members of several other religious congregations continue to serve alongside the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany at The Dwelling Place in response to the needs of homeless women and to advocate for compassionate and just services for the most vulnerable in our society.