Helen’s House

The building known as Helen’s House is named in honor of Helen Hall, who followed Lillian Wald as Head Worker of Henry Street Settlement in 1933. She directed the Settlement for over 30 years and was an author and activist concentrating on social reform in policies focusing on homelessness and municipal shelters. Today, Helen’s House provides emergency housing for mothers or fathers with children up to the age of seven.

Dedicated at the opening ceremony by Mayor David Dinkins, Helen’s House sits on a site owned by the Settlement that once held an empty lot and an abandoned 18th-century building. Construction was completed in 1991. Designed by Herbert Mandel Associates and architect Larry Harvey, the team successfully incorporated the needs of the housing program with the composition of neighboring buildings.

A four-story with basement and red brick structure, it has a four bay front façade that connects visually with both Pete’s House next door and the Settlement’s original mid-19th century buildings down the block. The welcoming masonry arched entrance with cream-colored mortar joints is embellished by hunter green, aluminum clad double glazed doors. The color and material repeated in the double hung windows is enhanced by decorative red masonry corner blocks. The sign over the door is black smaltz with gold leaf letters that duplicates the style used on other Settlement properties.

Henry Street Settlement, through Helen’s House’s 16 efficiency apartments, community room, and daycare center space, continues Ms. Hall’s vision of bringing suitable housing to those who need it most.

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