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The 163rd Street Improvement Council, Inc. is a community based nonprofit organization founded in the South Bronx in 1965 by a group of activists who were concerned about the lack of resources and erosion of Bronx County, particularly the South Bronx. Much of the Improvement Council's early work focused on leadership activities including the formation of a community coalition that became known as Morrisania Community Corporation. As a result of the Improvement Council's effective leadership numerous Bronx organizations were formed including South Bronx model cities, South Bronx branch of the NAACP and the Bronx Council of Boy Scouts.
Since its inception, the Improvement Council dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for Bronx residents, particularly those residing in the South Bronx. In 1968 the organization became one of the first not for profits in the Bronx to receive federal anti-poverty funding and the first organization in the Bronx to offer housing case management services. With funding from New York City and New York State, the Improvement Council continues to dedicate itself to improving the self- worth, self-determination and income of Bronx residents.
Determined to make a difference in the lives of the residents, The Council began to create affordable housing in the community. Long considered pioneers in the Bronx for housing and human services programs, we offer the special-needs, homeless and low-income populations an array of support services. The Improvement Council's approach is unique. A continuum of care from outreach to permanent housing is available and offered to low income and homeless people including members of special needs groups. This continuum allows an individual or family to leave places not meant for human habitation or other facilities where persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters, to receive an assessment and emergency food and clothing, case management services, health, mental health and substance abuse preventive services; and move to transitional and/or supported housing and/or permanent generic housing.
Recognizing the need for affordable housing and in an effort to divert and eliminate homelessness, the Improvement Council became involved in affordable housing development in 1974. By 1999 more than 1,700 units of housing including 252 units of Section 8 and 86 city Mitchell Lama units for people with special needs, were established and/or maintained in the south Bronx as a result of the Improvement Council's commitment and dedication.