The Dwelling Place — a haven for women in Hell’s Kitchen for the past 46 years — closed its doors for good on July 12, joining Centro Maria and Webster Apartments as the third women’s residence in the area to shut down in recent years.

The Dwelling Place
The Dwelling Place on W40th Street is now closed. Photo: Catie Savage

The Archdiocese of New York owns the building at 409 W40th Street (between 9th and Dyer Avenue). The Dwelling Place had been funded by private donations and was one of the last remaining women’s residences in Manhattan. In a statement on their website, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and the Archdiocese said that the “decision to close indefinitely stems from financial constraints and staffing challenges.”

The transitional shelter served about 3,000 women in its 46 years. On average, residents stayed for six months. The women were served breakfast and dinner and required to be out of the shelter in-between meals for work or to receive help to regain their stability. It also operated as a soup kitchen and food distribution center on Wednesday evenings.

The Dwelling Place opened after four Franciscan Sisters who worked as nurses witnessed the plight of homeless women roaming the Port Authority building on W42nd Street. After receiving permission from their congregation, in 1977, they began to use the former convent of St Clement Mary Hofbauer parish as a transitional shelter for women. 

Their mission was to “live out the Gospel in a tangible way by providing for homeless women a roof, a hot meal, a warm bed, a chance to shower and change clothing or shopping bags, personal contact with people, a relief from the streets and acceptance as someone loved by God through His people.” 

The Dwelling Place Food Lines
Lines for food were a familiar sight on W40th Street at The Dwelling Place. Photo: The Dwelling Place Instagram

Sister Margaret Magee, Congregational Minister, said in a statement, “The presence and ministry of the Dwelling Place throughout the years has been a significant blessing to women in need. We are grateful to the many faithful volunteers, staff, board members, donors and sisters who have served with joy and hope. We pray for the Spirit’s guidance in the work needed at this time.”

The Dwelling Place briefly closed at the start of the pandemic before reopening in January 2021. Deborah Pollock was appointed as Executive Director during the pandemic shutdown. In a statement, the Archdiocese said: “The employment of former administrator of The Dwelling Place, Deborah Pollock, ended June 12, 2023. Ms Pollock is not authorized to make decisions or solicit money or services under the name of The Dwelling Place of NY, Inc.” W42ST asked for further details from Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and the Archdiocese about Ms Pollock’s employment but have not received more information at the time of publication.

Erik Bottcher Deborah Pollock
(From left) Executive Director Deborah Pollock, Board Member Joseph Morandi and Council Member Erik Bottcher at The Dwelling Place’s Gala in May 2023. Photo: CM Bottcher Twitter

Council Member Erik Bottcher, who attended The Dwelling Place’s Gala event in May this year, told us via email: “It’s deeply troubling that the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany would move to pull out of The Dwelling Place without making a concerted effort to ensure that the services provided there can continue, even with another nonprofit operator. My colleagues and I are working to facilitate a plan for this site so it continues to offer vital housing for homeless women. Until then, its services should continue uninterrupted.”

Its closure follows in the wake of two other women’s shelters closing or relocating from Hell’s Kitchen. The Webster Apartments — which offered women significantly below-market rate rent and two hot meals a day — moved to FOUND Study Midtown East at 569 Lexington Ave earlier this year. Located on 419 W34th Street (just west of 9th Avenue) the original building gave a home to thousands of young women who needed affordable housing for over a century. The Webster Apartments were sold for $52.5 million to Educational Housing Services, a not-for-profit organization. 

Centro Maria, a large boarding house located on W54th Street that offered tenants shelter, two meals a day, and served as a safe haven for women for decades, was forced to close three years ago. The Archdiocese told Centro Maria leadership that the sale was needed to raise funds to pay for hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. The building was demolished and is set to become a 21-floor, 71-unit luxury apartment building. 

Join the Conversation


  1. With all the tax dollars being spent on recent housing, food & cell phone needs….this is terrible.

    Shame! Shame! Shame!

  2. This is stomach turning. Another sign that the city simply does. Not. Care. The chasm between rich and poor only getting wider.

    1. Hi Jessica, Like you we are sad to see these sites closing down. Midtown is a resource-rich neighborhood that has ample opportunities for healthcare, employment, education, and more that our homeless neighbors benefit from, which makes it a great place for transitional housing sites. While these won’t serve homeless neighbors anymore, there are many others currently open, and we’re a group of Midtown residents dedicated to welcoming and supporting homeless residents of Midtown–unsheltered and in various types of transitional housing–through material resources, neighborhood organizing, and policy advocacy. We do activities ranging from speaking in support of such services at Community Board meetings to offering programs in shelters like art therapy and writing workshops. Anybody, regardless of experience or skill level, can join us and volunteer! If you’re interested in learning more about us and getting involved with our group, please contact us at, or learn more at our website: Thank you!

  3. “…the sale was needed to raise funds to pay for hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits.” A reckoning is sorely needed by those that claim to serve a higher power.

  4. Wouldn’t include The Webster in the same category as the homeless shelters. Although, very important in helping young, working women to pursue early internships and nascent careers. More like The Barbizon of 34th Street!

  5. I grew up in building next to the Dwelling Place and remembered when they took the building over from the convent that was there. Sad to see them go..they provided an important community service. Disappointed in the Catholic Church on so many fronts yet again

  6. The Dwelling Place provided a community of care that was not replicated anywhere else by really caring about the people who came for housing, meals and other needs. All people were treated with dignity and loving attention, and were truly provided a safe haven and placed on a path to more stability. I volunteered there often, and knew some of the founders, whom I came to admire as exemplars of service to others. I am so sad to see this stellar program be shuttered. It should, instead, have been modeled, studied and replicated. It’s truly disappointing to see it disappear.

  7. So so sad and mired in confusion as to what is happening.
    The Allegheny Sisters owe us donors an explanation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *