Our Community

Henry Street Settlement is located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which has historically been and continues to be one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the nation.

While Henry Street provides services to all New Yorkers, the agency remains firmly rooted in the Lower East Side, as a trusted advocate for our community since 1893.

True to its legacy as an immigrant enclave and the hub of Progressivism in New York, the Lower East Side today remains rich in diversity, activism, and artistic experimentation. At the same time, it suffers from one of the highest poverty rates in Manhattan, with 30% of households in our district earning under $20,000 a year.

As the gap between the affluent and the poor has grown in our neighborhood, as it has nationwide, this poverty has come to be hidden underneath statistics showing higher median income for households and higher average educational attainment by residents. The struggles of the district’s low-income families, however, especially those who live in one of the several public housing complexes in our neighborhood where annual household income falls far below the federal poverty level, continue to be linked to the same structural and environmental factors: homelessness, unemployment and underemployment, poor mental and physical health, inadequate child care, and lack of access to essential services such as health care and a quality education.

While there are many risk factors in the neighborhood, there are also many strengths. The changing face of New York City is reflected by demographic shifts in our community, which is 33% Asian, 31% White, 25% Hispanic, and 7% Black or African-American, with a foreign-born population of 36 per cent. Our residents include members of Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Bangladeshi, Puerto Rican, and Dominican communities, as well as descendants of the Jewish families who first immigrated to the Lower East Side in the 19th century. The rich cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of our community underlies a sense of community among residents, providing a strong foundation for our Community Board; a vibrant artistic community; and culture-based values among many families that emphasize the involvement of the extended family in the care of children as well as older adults.

Henry Street is privileged to serve and be a part of this community, as we have for over a hundred years as a player in the multilayered and colorful history of the Lower East Side.