Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (the “Neighborhood House”) is a multi-service community-based organization that serves people in need on the East Side of Manhattan and on Roosevelt Island. Founded in 1894 as a free kindergarten for the children of indigent immigrants and as one of the first settlement houses in the nation, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is the oldest and largest provider of social, legal and educational services on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Each year, they assist more than 20,000 individuals and families who range in age from 3 to 103, represent dozens of races, ethnicities and countries of origin and "live, work, go to school or access services" on the East Side from 14th Street to 143rd Street and on Roosevelt Island. Their clients include indigent families and the working poor who live in the East Side's housing projects and tenements or who travel to the Upper East Side to work in low-wage jobs such as cashiers, housekeepers, nannies and laborers; 10,000 seniors; and hundreds of mentally ill homeless and formerly homeless adults. They have five locations between 54th and 102nd Streets, offer programs at dozens of East Side locations; their headquarters is located on East 70th Street.
The Neighborhood House has served the community for 120 years and has eight departments (Adult Education, Children and Family Services, Fitness & Aquatics, Food Services, Homeless and Housing Services, Legal Advocacy, Older Adult Services and Visual and Performing Arts), more than 20 different programs, nearly 200 staff and over 700 regular volunteers. Their mission is to help those in need who live, work, or go to school on Manhattan’s East Side and to improve the quality of life for all individuals and families in their community. They define need broadly to include economic, social, emotional, and physical need, but give priority to those in economic need.
The Neighborhood House was founded in 1894 as a free kindergarten for the children of immigrants living and working on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As the community has grown and diversified over the last 120 years, so has the Neighborhood House. It has long been a center of community activism and leadership, addressing such issues as affordable housing, poor working conditions, health care, hunger, childcare, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, juvenile delinquency, crime prevention, and long-term care for older adults. In addition to creating New York City's first tenants' rights group, the Neighborhood House helped organize New York City's first "Meals on Wheels" program, first government-funded social adult day care program, and helped create a continuum of care for homeless people in New York City. The Neighborhood House was profiled as “Agency of the Month” by the New York Nonprofit Press.
The Neighborhood House offers classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) that provides adults with practical and enjoyable learning experiences. Students gain skills that can enrich their lives and improve their careers.
Children and family services
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s Children & Family Services Program offers approximately 400 low-income families each year a comprehensive educational experience where children learn, grow and develop in a nurturing environment. The Early Childhood Center is a year-round program that ensures that children can attend the Neighborhood House from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., five days a week, 12 months a year. Their rich curriculum includes computers, field trips, art and music activities, outdoor play and swimming. In 2012, the Early Childhood Center was re-accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The RealArts Education Program serves 60 low-income children (ages 5 through 13) throughout the academic year, operating from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and on full days during school holidays. With a strong emphasis on arts education and aquatics, RealArts offers age appropriate activities in dance, drama, music, visual art and swimming. During the summer months, the program transforms into the RealArts Summer Camp.
Fitness and aquatics
The Neighborhood House operates a Fitness and Aquatics Center with state-of-the-art equipment and an indoor heated swimming pool. Memberships are available to community members. Swimming instruction is part of the curriculum for all pre-school and school-age children. Their gym is a neighborhood resource: a number of special fitness activities are targeted at older adults, and the gym is used by several neighborhood schools.
Their Food Services staff prepare and serve more than 350,000 meals a year to older adults, children and homeless and formerly homeless adults.
The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Community Supported Agriculture program began in 2009. CSAs are partnerships between regional farmers and consumers to get fresh produce directly from the farms into NYC communities. The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House CSA has partnered with GrowNYC again for the 2014 season, which runs from June through early November. The CSA's goals are to serve the Neighborhood House's clients and the Upper East Side community and to support local sustainable agriculture in New York. Our relationship with GrowNYC allows us to provide our very low-income clients with affordable high quality fresh fruits and vegetables at a very discounted price. The Neighborhood House also lead initiatives to incorporate these individuals into our CSA model, such as offering nutrition/cooking workshops to teach them how to cook, store and preserve the delicious vegetables in their CSA shares.
Homeless and housing services
Through the Homeless and Housing Services Department, the Neighborhood House provides a comprehensive network of programs and services to homeless and formerly homeless men and women each year to help them gain independence and stability.
The Department provides support to more than 500 homeless men and women each year who are homeless, formerly homeless, or threatened with eviction and life on the streets. The Department’s programs include: an 80-bed women’s mental health shelter serving women age 45 and over who are mentally ill; a supportive housing residence with apartments for 54 formerly homeless adults who are mentally ill; and the East Side Homeless Network (a collaboration with two other New York City non-profits, Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, and Yorkville Common Pantry) which coordinates services from outreach to transitional housing to employment for homeless men and women.
The Legal Advocacy Department provides direct legal assistance and representation to hundreds of Neighborhood House clients in multiple legal areas including housing, family law, government benefits and health insurance and integrates civil legal representation and education into the continuum of services and care for all clients in need. This integration of general legal services into social service and educational programs is the first of its kind in a New York City community-based, multi-service organization. The Legal Department utilizes a model multidisciplinary approach with lawyers, social workers, educators and advocates working together to meet the diverse legal and social service needs of clients. The Department consists of five attorneys and two non-attorney advocates. The Department also works with several pro bono attorneys (including members of the Neighborhood House's Board of Directors) and law school interns.
Older adult services
The Neighborhood House’s Older Adult Services Department serves more than 10,000 seniors throughout Manhattan each year. The majority of these older adults are low-income individuals on fixed incomes. The programs currently include two filled-to-capacity senior centers (i.e., with a combined membership of over 7,000), seven-day-a-week transportation services, support for family caregivers and their frail elderly loved ones, financial and case management services through the East Side Case Management Consortium which Lenox Hill Neighborhood House leads with The Carter Burden Center for the Aging and Search and Care as partners, social adult day care for cognitively frail elders through the CARE Program, legal advocacy, visual and performing arts, outings to cultural events, and computer education.
Visual and performing arts
The Visual and Performing Arts Department integrates arts instruction including visual art, creative movement, music and drama and performance into most of the Neighborhood House’s programs. They strive to increase participation in and access to the arts for all of the people that they serve. In addition to arts instruction and performance throughout their programs, they present art performances to the entire East Side community, free of charge, through their Community Theatre and Second Sundays performance series. The Department also runs the RealArts Education Program and RealArts Summer Camp.
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House has 700 active volunteers who provide critical support to their programs and operations. Opportunities for volunteers include serving meals and leading workshops at their two Senior Centers, assisting students in the Computer Center, running activity groups at the Women’s Mental Health Shelter, assisting with classroom activities in the Early Childhood Center and helping recent immigrants practice their English.
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is a member of United Neighborhood Houses of New York City, the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, the Supportive Housing Network of New York City, the Day Care Council of New York City, the Council on Homeless Services and Policies of New York City, the Human Services Council of New York City, the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.
- "Lenox Hill Neighborhood House". VolunteerMatch. VolunteerMatch. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "A A A Lenox Hill Neighborhood House". The Social Welfare History Project. The Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- New York Nonprofit Press
- "Lenox Hill Neighborhood House; Search and Care". Our Approach: Altman Foundation. Altman Foundation. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Our Members: Lenox Hill Neighborhood House". United Neighborhood Houses of New York. United Neighborhood Houses of New York. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- Official website
- The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Gala, article about annual fundraising event
- Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Collection, 1892-1994, finding aid