2022 Annual Report
Our vision, your impact.
Housing, Health, and a Brighter Future
Three years ago, Cathy was in a dark place. She had been thrown out by her partner and the father of her children. With no job or place to live, she was unable to get custody of her kids. Although she eventually found work and a shared apartment, that stability was short-lived when her roommate moved out, leaving Cathy unable to pay the rent. She became homeless before being hospitalized and diagnosed with clinical depression.
That's when everything changed.
While at the hospital, Cathy was connected with VOA-GNY’s Community Support Services program in Northern New Jersey that provides housing, mental health services and other support.
VOA-GNY was “like an angel sent by God,” Cathy says. Staff helped her apply for benefits, find an
apartment, provided her with furniture and clothes, and connected her with legal help so she could seek custody of her children. When she won, the team helped her find a bigger apartment for her newly reunited family.
Today, she and the kids are thriving. She aspires to start her own business and, thanks to the support she received from VOA-GNY, feels confident that she can achieve her goals. “It was hard, but it takes people to believe in you... and VOA-GNY never gave up on me.”
Providing Comfort to Families in Crisis
Lucia* and her family fled Colombia to escape escalating gang violence. Out of desperation, they gave their life savings to a smuggler who promised to transport them safely to the U.S., but the smuggler abandoned them in the jungle. By the time they arrived at the U.S. border, they had been assaulted, traumatized, and robbed of all their possessions.
This is a story shared by many of the 30,000 asylum seekers who were transported to New York City in 2022.
VOA-GNY is on the frontlines of this humanitarian crisis. We opened a sanctuary shelter in the Bronx for asylum seeking families—with two more set to open in 2023—where our team of culturally competent, bilingual staff provide comprehensive support services to each family, including familiar foods and necessities like shoes and winter coats. We connect them with medical care, mental health counseling, ESL classes, legal services and ensure that children are enrolled in school. But perhaps most importantly, our staff are ready to listen and offer kindness, encouragement, and support.
Prioritizing Dignity: Our Street to Housing Pilot Program
Each night, thousands of unsheltered individuals sleep on New York City’s streets and subways, their experiences as diverse and complex as their needs. Many have untreated mental health issues. Others are dealing with layers of trauma. Both are significant contributors to chronic street homelessness. Some of these individuals prefer to live “under the radar” and avoid the shelter system due to feelings of exclusion, not only from society, but from trying and failing to navigate the bureaucratic systems that are designed to help, but still seem to keep them down.
To address this, VOA-GNY launched the Street to Housing pilot program designed to bring 80 individuals experiencing homelessness directly into supportive housing in the spirit of the “housing first” model. This first-of-its-kind program in New York City gives clients autonomy to choose where they live while providing access to services such as mental health care. Once proven successful, it will serve as a model that can be scaled and replicated across the city.
Since the program’s launch in September, VOA-GNY has helped individuals like Richard, 60, who was living in the subway system. He had fallen on hard times and, in addition to dealing with his own health complications, was caring for his elderly mother. Today, Richard is living stably at one of our supportive housing programs where he can access the services he needs to begin thriving again.
The pilot is in partnership with the NYC Department of Social Services (DSS), Human Resources Administration (HRA), Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
Read the full 2022 VOA-Greater New York Annual Report below