- For the organizations for kibbutzim and moshavim, see Settlement movement (Israel).
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The settlement movement was a reformist social movement, beginning in the 1880s and peaking around the 1920s in England and the US, with a goal of getting the rich and poor in society to live more closely together in an interdependent community. Its main object was the establishment of "settlement houses" in poor urban areas, in which volunteer middle-class "settlement workers" would live, hoping to share knowledge and culture with, and alleviate the poverty of their low-income neighbors. The "settlement houses" provided services such as daycare, education, and healthcare to improve the lives of the poor in these areas. In the US, by 1913 there were 413 settlements in 32 states.
The term also has a second, unrelated meaning in contemporary USA, referring to independent living programs targeted towards young people who "age out" of the foster care system. The US Congress passed legislation in 1999, setting aside $140 million for independent living programs.
The movement started in London in the mid-19th century. These houses, radically different from those in America, often offered food, shelter, and basic and higher education, provided by virtue of charity on part of wealthy donors, the residents of the city, and (for education) scholars who volunteered their time.
Victorian England, increasingly concerned with poverty, gave rise to the movement whereby those connected to universities settled students in slum areas to live and work alongside local people. Through their efforts settlement houses were established for education, savings, sports, and arts. Such institutions were often praised by religious representatives concerned with the lives of the poor, and criticized as normative or moralistic by radical social movements.
The British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres is a network of such organizations in the United Kingdom. Birmingham University has produced a brief history of the settlement movement in the UK. Examples of the earliest settlements dating back to 1884 are Aston-Mansfield, Toynbee Hall, and Oxford House in Bethnal Green. There is also a global network, the International Federation of Settlements.
The movement gave rise to many social policy initiatives and innovative ways of working to improve the conditions of the most excluded members of society. The Poor Man's Lawyer service came about because a barrister volunteered his time and encouraged his friends to do the same. In general, the settlement movement, and settlement houses in particular, "have been a foundation for social work practice in this country".
The most famous settlement house in the United States is Chicago's Hull House, founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr in 1889 after they had visited Toynbee Hall in 1888. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, founded in 1894, Friendly Inn Settlement House, founded in 1874, Henry Street Settlement, founded in 1893, and University Settlement House, founded in 1886 and the oldest in the United States, were, like Hull House, important sites for social reform. United Neighborhood Houses of New York is the federation of 35 settlement houses in New York City. These and other settlement houses inspired the establishment of settlement schools to serve isolated rural communities in Appalachia. The settlement house concept was continued by Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker "hospitality houses" in the 1930s.
The movement also spread to late Tsarist Russia, as Stanislav Shatsky and Alexander Zelenko set up a network of educational and social institutions in northern Moscow in 1905, naming it "Setlement" (the English word transliterated to Russian). This network of institutions was closed down by the Tsarist authorities in 1908.
Today, settlements are still community-focused organizations, providing a range of services including early education, youth guidance and crime intervention, senior programs, and specialized programs for young people who have "aged out" of the foster care system. Since they are staffed by professional employees and students, they no longer require that employees live alongside those they serve.
Active settlement houses
- Alexandra Neighbourhood House, South Surrey, British Columbia
- Association House of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
- Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia
- Barton Hill Settlement, Bristol, England
- Benton House, Chicago, Illinois
- Bethany House, Laredo, Texas
- Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Louisville, Kentucky
- Cambridge House, Southwark, London, England
- Central Neighbourhood House, Toronto, Canada
- Charles Settlement House, Rochester, New York
- Chicago Commons, Chicago, Illinois
- Columbus Federation of Settlements, Columbus, Ohio
- East Side House Settlement, Bronx, New York
- The Educational Alliance, New York, New York
- Franklin-Wright Settlements, Inc, Detroit, Michigan
- Friendly Inn Settlement House, Cleveland, Ohio
- Grace Hill Settlement House, St. Louis, Missouri
- Grand Street Settlement, New York, New York
- Greenwich House, Inc., New York, New York
- Guardian Angel Settlement Association, St. Louis, Missouri — one of the first settlement houses established by the Catholic Church
- Hamilton-Madison House, New York, New York
- Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York
- The House of The Seven Gables Settlement, Salem, Massachusetts
- Hudson Guild, New York, New York
- John Hope Settlement House, Providence, Rhode Island
- Katherine Low Settlement, Battersea, London, England
- Kingdom House, St. Louis, Missouri
- Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, The Bronx, New York
- Kingsley House, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, New York, New York
- Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, East St. Louis, Illinois
- Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center, New York, New York
- Lutheran Settlement House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- The Matthew House, Fort Collins, Colorado
- The Music Settlement, Cleveland, Ohio
- The Neighborhood House, Columbus, Ohio
- Northwestern University Settlement House, Chicago, Illinois
- Oxford House, London, England
- Palama Settlement, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Pillsbury United Communities, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Queens Community House, Forest Hills, New York
- Riverdale Neighborhood House, Bronx, New York
- St. Christopher House, Toronto, Ontario
- The Shack Neighborhood House, Scott's Run, West Virginia
- Stanton Street Settlement, New York, New York
- Sydney University Settlement, Darlington, Australia
- Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel, London, England
- Union Settlement Association, East Harlem, New York
- United Neighborhood Houses of New York, New York, New York
- University Settlement Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
- University Settlement House, New York, New York
Historical settlement houses
- Bermondsey Settlement, East London
- Christodora House, Alphabet City, Manhattan, New York City
- Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, Columbus, Ohio
- Downtown Community House, Little Syria, Manhattan, New York City
- Friendly Inn Settlement House, Cleveland, Ohio
- Friendly Inn Settlement, Inc, Cleveland, Ohio
- Hiram House, Cleveland, Ohio
- Hull House, Chicago
- North East Neighborhood House, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Legacy and impact
Settlement houses influenced urban design and architecture in the 20th century. For example, James Rossant of Conklin + Rossant agreed with Robert E. Simon's social vision and consciously sought to mix economic backgrounds when drawing up the master plan for Reston, Virginia.
- Wade, Louise Carrol (2004). "Settlement Houses". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- Husock, H. (1993). "Bringing back the settlement house". Public Welfare, 51(4).
- Jane Brackett, "Aging Out of Foster Care", PBS Online (May 19, 2005), accessed April 26, 2009.
- Reyes, J. M. (2008). Common space, safe place: Lived experiences of former settlement house participants from the West Town and Humboldt Park neighborhoods of Chicago Dissertation Abstract International, 69(5), 1682A. (UMI No. AAI3314871) Retrieved July 13, 2009, from Dissertations and Theses Database.
- Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center
- "Reston". JamesRossant.com. Retrieved 30 December 2010. Unknown parameter
- Blank, Barbara Trainin. "Settlement Houses: Old Idea in New Form Builds Communities", The New Social Worker, Summer 1998, Vol. 5, No. 3
- Hunter, Robert. "The Relation Between Social Settlements and Charity Organization," Journal of Political Economy, vol. 11, no. 1 (Dec. 1902), pp. 75–88. In JSTOR