Founded in 1893 by social work and public health pioneer Lillian Wald and based on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Henry Street Settlement delivers a wide range of social service, arts and health care programs to more than 50,000 New Yorkers each year. Distinguished by a profound connection to its neighbors, a willingness to address new problems with swift and innovative solutions, and a strong record of accomplishment, Henry Street challenges the effects of urban poverty by helping families achieve better lives for themselves and their children.
Since their founding in 1893, Henry Street Settlement has been a dedicated advocate for the community they serve. From placing the first nurse in a public school in 1902 to creating the nation’s first apartment-style shelter for homeless families in 1972, Henry Street has a 124-year history of listening to the needs of their community and responding with relevant services and solutions. They have also been an important voice in the fight for social justice, civil rights, and access to social services in the local, state, and national political arenas.
Henry Street’s commitment to advocacy and community engagement is part of their agency’s DNA, and it is a commitment that they continue to build upon today. Each year, Henry Street hosts a Town Hall for LES residents and conducts dozens of focus groups with program participants across the agency. The hundreds of conversations and connections that stem from this work—which they call theirSettlement-wide “listening tour”—help us ensure that their work reflects the priorities and needs of their community.
They meet monthly with their Community Advisory Board, a group of Henry Street clients and community members of all ages and backgrounds who play an active, crucial role in shaping their work.
They work hard to ensure that they hear from their community translates into meaningful action—both on theirpart and on the part of their City & State governments. Furthermore, they strive to support their community members in their own efforts to engage in the political process by hosting voter registration drives, candidate forums, and a political education initiative for high school students called the Youth Leadership Council.
In January 2017, they created an Action Center as a response to growing concern about the actions being taken by the new presidential administration. They encourage the Henry Street community to utilize these resources to continue advocating for themselves, their families, and their communities.