Henry Street Settlement opens doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs.
Henry Street Settlement’s clients in every agency program, as well as the community at large, are invited to share in and learn about the Settlement’s advocacy efforts. After community engagement events such as Town Hall meetings, the findings are shared to make the public aware of the thoughts and concerns of our elected officials and our neighbors.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, PUBLIC POLICY, and ADVOCACY FINDINGS from FOCUS GROUPS and COMMUNITY TOWN HALL
Community engagement, listening and responding are defining characteristics of the settlement house model, and ones that have been embraced by Henry Street Settlement for 123 years. Building on that legacy, in 2015 our policy team conducted a series of focus groups with clients and staff — from our education and employment, health and wellness, transitional housing, and arts programs — to elicit emerging needs and concerns. The culminating event — the 2015 Town Hall held on October 25 was attended by a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 community members, clients, elected officials and staff.
Based on information gathered at the Settlement’s 2014 Town Hall meeting, and in the numerous focus groups that preceded it, we are proud to share the following new initiatives:
- The establishment of a Community Advisory Board (CAB), comprised of local residents and clients, to create a forum for continuous dialogue with clients, local residents and the broader community.
- The creation of an aftercare program to help families moving from our homeless shelters to permanent housing successfully transition to their new community to address the problem of recidivism among shelter residents. Henry Street led an advocacy campaign — in collaboration with five other nonprofits — in support of a citywide initiative to enhance resources for the more than 11,000 families in NYC’s shelters. In the spring of 2015, the City Council allocated $1 million to this new program — including $235,000 for Henry Street’s aftercare project.
- The expansion of nursing services for seniors in our Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). Henry Street testified at City Council hearings and met with elected officials to appeal for additional funding for vulnerable seniors, and reached
out to NORCs across NYC to build the case for more resources. The City Council then allocated over $15,000 to nursing services at Henry Street, and additional funds to support these services in other NORCs.
This executive summary presents key findings in 2015 for five core topics — EDUCATION, JOBS, HOUSING, PUBLIC SAFETY, SENIOR CONCERNS, and GENTRIFICATION — which will allow us to refine our advocacy agenda to further align our programs and priorities with the community’s most pressing needs.