Graduation Date

Fall 12-13-2021

Grading Professor

Benjamin Lesser

Subject Concentration


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Following the 2017 "Turning the Tide" reform effort by Mayor de Blasio, the controversial cluster site shelters started to combat homelessness were set to close in 2021. How effective were those reforms? In an examination of resident experiences and historical building data, one of the worst offending buildings was mainly unchanged by efforts. Aside from the designation change, homeless providers moved individuals into the building and conditions had still not improved.

540SouthernBoulevard1_Schermerhorn_Jacob_1.JPG (14065 kB)
The exterior of 540 Southern Boulevard, a former cluster site, seen through the interior courtyard.

KareemPadgett_Schermerhorn_Jacob_2.JPG (12795 kB)
Kareem Padgett, a formerly homeless resident of 540 Southern Boulevard, stands in his apartment. A rodent problem, drug usage, and a lack of security makes him feel unsafe having his six-year-old daughter for overnight visits.

HarveyJames_Schermerhorn_Jacob_3.JPG (14726 kB)
Harvey James, another resident of the former cluster site, stands in his kitchen. He says there were intial promises of a security guard and working intercom that were not met when he moved from a hotel to the apartment.

MonthlyShelterCensus_Schermerhorn_Jacob_4.png (166 kB)
This graphic shows the increase in homeless indivduals from 1993 to 2021 based on Monthly Shelter Census data from the Department of Homeless Services.

540SouthernBoulevard2_Schermerhorn_Jacob_5.jpg (4910 kB)
The exterior of 540 Southern Boulevard seen from a sidewalk view. The faulty intercom and oft-propped open door into the courtyard can be seen.

NumberofClusterSites_Schermerhorn_Jacob_6.png (144 kB)
This graphic shows the number of operational cluster sites according to shelter repair data from the Department of Homeless Services from 2016 to 2021.

540OpenViolations_Schermerhorn_Jacob_7.png (174 kB)
This graphic shows the number of open building violations based on monthly shelter repair data maintained by the Department of Homeless Services from 2016 to 2021.

Mailboxes_Schermerhorn_Jacob_8.JPG (12470 kB)
The mailboxes at 540 Southern Boulevard which are either faulty or entirely removed from the wall. Padgett's mailbox should be where the hole in the wall is instead.

Available for download on Friday, January 17, 2025