A Year of Resilience

In 2021, S:US positively impacted the lives of over 37,000 New Yorkers, including people with disabilities, people in poverty, and people facing homelessness. We are grateful to our staff, board, donors, and volunteers for persevering during such a challenging time, and helping us work toward our vision of opportunity for all.

The following Impact Report shows just some of what S:US has been able to accomplish this year thanks to our community of supporters.

Supportive and Affordable Housing

Providing Safe Homes for Vulnerable Individuals and Families

On any given day this year, S:US provided affordable, safe homes for 4,500 people who are low-income, have experienced homelessness, or live with developmental disabilities. Many of our residents are the most marginalized New Yorkers, who have faced domestic violence, a substance use disorder, or mental health challenges. People with these complex needs benefit from our supportive housing, which combines affordable homes with access to services like counseling, healthcare, and job training.

Supportive and Affordable Housing Highlights

Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, S:US has continued to build new homes for the people we serve. These new apartment buildings will offer residents stability, as well as a sense of community. They will also be built to environmentally-friendly standards and include amenities such as rooftop gardens and community space.

Click the tabs below to learn more.

Alafia (in development; phase 1A construction to begin in 2022)
East New York, Brooklyn

Quick Facts:
♦ Partnership between S:US, L+M Development Partners, Apex Building Company, and RiseBoro Community Partnership
♦ Over 2,400 affordable, supportive, and senior apartments

Special Features Include: ★ Medical Facility ★ Retail Space

Starhill (in development; construction to begin in 2022)
Morris Heights, The Bronx

Quick Facts:
♦ 570 apartments
♦ 274 apartments set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families facing substance use challenges

Special Features Include: ★ Healthcare Center ★ Green Space

Jerome Avenue (under construction; to be completed Spring 2022)
Morris Heights, The Bronx

Quick Facts:
♦ 175 apartments
♦ 105 apartments set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families in which the head of household has a serious mental health challenge or substance use disorder

Special Features Include: ★ Office Space ★ Multipurpose Room

Alabama Avenue (under construction; to be completed Summer 2022)
East New York, Brooklyn

Quick Facts:
♦ 71 apartments
♦ 43 apartments set aside for individuals who have faced homelessness

Special Features Include: ★ Landscaped Courtyard ★ Gym

Melrose North (under construction; to be completed Summer 2023)
Morrisania, The Bronx

Quick Facts:
♦ 171 apartments
♦ 103 apartments set aside for people who have faced homelessness or domestic violence or live with mental health challenges or substance use disorders

Special Features Include: ★ Space for a Youth Arts Education Program ★ Community Garden and Outdoor Gym ★ Computer Room 

Homeless Services

Offering Shelter and Support to People Facing Homelessness

Every month in 2021, S:US provided safe shelter for an average of 1,300 people facing homelessness, including over 200 children. And this year we helped almost 500 individuals and families find their permanent home. We served people facing homelessness at our shelters, through homelessness prevention programs, and by supporting people as they transition from living in a shelter to a long-term home.

Homeless Services Highlights

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Ensuring No New Yorker Slips Through the Cracks

We expanded our eviction prevention services, adding supports and services for people who are not protected under New York’s eviction mortarium who otherwise would slip through the safety net. This includes undocumented immigrants and others who may not be eligible for government financial assistance. We served 1,630 households in the past year.

Moving Shelter Residents to Hotels to Facilitate Social Distancing

For much of the pandemic, when infection rates were high and vaccines were not yet widely available, over 500 individuals facing homelessness from four of our shelters were temporarily relocated to hotels. Through this and other COVID safety protocols, S:US was able to keep infection rates low among the people we serve in our shelters.

Behavioral Health

Assisting People with Mental Health Challenges and Substance Use Disorders

This year, S:US provided treatment and support to 4,200 people who have faced mental health challenges and substance use disorders. We offered counseling in-person and virtually to over 1,300 people at our Wellness Works Clinics. And for those who needed more intensive help, we offered recovery services in a home-like environment as an alternative to treatment in a hospital.

Behavioral Health Highlights

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Expanding to Meet Increased Mental Health Care Needs

S:US is growing its mental health support services to help its community deal with the stress of the pandemic. We recently surveyed 3,500 of the people we serve and 67% of them said they had dealt with anxiety or post-traumatic stress since the start of the pandemic. Thanks to support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, we will launch a new program to use technology to help people in communities we serve deal with social isolation, grief, loss, and illness.

Offering Virtual Community and Support

At our Brooklyn Clubhouse, people living with mental health challenges receive social support and assistance in finding new jobs. Peer counselors help their fellow members to recover and S:US staff members help connect participants to new job opportunities. During the pandemic, the Clubhouse created social media pages and virtual groups to stay in touch with the members who rely on its services.

Veterans Services

Helping Vulnerable Veterans and Their Families Find Stability

This year, S:US served 2,700 New York City and Long Island veterans and their families. The veterans we serve are all low-income, and many of them face mental and physical health challenges or substance use disorders. S:US offered support to help these veterans find and maintain affordable housing, receive healthcare, and find new jobs.

Veterans Services Highlights

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Improving Financial Health

Through financial coaching, credit repair, benefits counseling and connection to free tax filing, S:US helped over 150 veteran families to take command of their finances. This will help these veteran families find stability and allow them to have wider options for housing, employment, and education in the future.

Supporting Veterans at Heightened Risk

S:US assisted veterans facing homelessness who were at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19 by placing them into temporary hotel rooms paid for by our Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Once in a temporary room, S:US worked with each veteran to rapidly identify and secure safe, affordable apartments.

Addressing Healthcare Needs

The Veterans Healthcare Navigators worked one-on-one with participants and their families to help them access healthcare over the past year. They helped veterans enroll in VA healthcare, obtain health insurance, and find specialty medical care, treatment services, and wellness resources. The Navigators also continue to help expand veterans’ use of telehealth resources.

Developmental Disabilities Services

Providing Community and Independence to People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

This year, S:US provided homes and essential services to over 700 people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We served those who live in S:US housing, as well as people who live in the community and attend our Day Programs. Through these programs, participants gain skills for independent living and access volunteering and job training opportunities.

Developmental Disabilities Highlights

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Moving from Virtual to In-Person Activities

At the beginning of 2021, participants with developmental disabilities participated in a full calendar of virtual activities to help them feel engaged and remain active. This included everything from exercise and cooking classes to art projects and social groups. As the year went on, all of these programs were able to reopen in-person under new COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Reimagining Championships and Family Fun Day

Our Annual Championships and Family Fun Day, held each fall, is a highlight of the year for people with developmental disabilities who are served by S:US. This year we held a hybrid event to bring people together while staying safe. Participants gathered in small groups in the backyards of S:US residences and in local parks and interacted with other groups virtually. The event was livestreamed and activities included relay races, art projects, and dance contests.

Creating an Internship at the Queens Botanical Garden

The Lefferts Day Program in Ozone Park started an internship program with the Queens Botanical Garden. Interns have the opportunity to help maintain the park while learning about green cleaning and spending time in the fresh air.

Urban Farms

Working in Nature to Build Healthy Lives and Strong Communities

This year, over 500 people participated in programs at S:US Urban Farms. Our farms and gardens are located in the backyards and on rooftops of our residences and other programs, and this year they produced over 8,000 lbs of food, the largest harvest yet! Through Urban Farms, participants learned about healthy eating, gained new skills and access to job opportunities, and enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of working in nature.

Urban Farms Highlights

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Expanding to Six New Locations

Urban Farms continues to expand to offer its therapeutic and nutritional benefits to more people. This year, people served by S:US, as well as outside volunteers, constructed raised garden beds and other infrastructure for backyards at 6 S:US residences in The Bronx and Brooklyn. As of the end of 2021, Urban Farms is active at 60 S:US program sites!

Creating an Online Hub to Help People Facing Food Insecurity

The S:US Urban Farms team is creating an online food resource hub that can be used by S:US residents, participants, and staff, as well as members of the surrounding communities. The hub, launching in 2022, will help people access resources such as food banks and soup kitchens and will also include educational content about food security and healthy eating.

Growing New Crops to Feed a Culturally Diverse Community

Each year, the people S:US serves through our programs and residences collaborate with our staff to decide which crops to grow at our Urban Farms. This year, they decided to grow fruits and vegetables that are culturally important to their communities, such as okra and callaloo, as well as some new ones, like Thai basil and kohlrabi. These new crops were then used to make dishes like this sweet potato hash.

Thank You!

We are so grateful to all of our supporters for helping make 2021 an impactful year. To help S:US continue to serve marginalized communities in 2022, make a gift today!

To learn more about how you or your company can get involved to support S:US, contact Kendra Meinhard, Director of Development.

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