This blog, written by New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, is the third installment in our celebratory series: Leading through Change—40 years of Westhab.
Over Westhab’s decades of service, I’ve been a champion of the impact that it is making in our community. As Westhab celebrates its 40th Anniversary, I think about the countless families that have obtained permanent affordable housing and the services they need to thrive. Organizations like Westhab are a pillar of a strong, vibrant community.
Westhab’s first affordable housing development was in my home district of Yonkers. The Windham, which they renovated in the early 1980s, remains an important affordable housing asset for our city. In fact, much of what Westhab does is right here in Yonkers, including building quality housing for families, seniors, veterans, and young adults, and operating youth and job training programs. I am proud to have an impactful organization like Westhab right here in NY-35.
Recently, I had the privilege of joining Westhab for the ribbon cutting of the Dayspring Campus in Yonkers. The campus includes the 63-unit affordable and supportive Dayspring Commons residence and the full-service Dayspring Community Center. Dayspring is set to become an anchor institution for the neighborhood and a catalyst for additional community development investment. It wouldn’t have happened without financing and partnership from New York State Homes and Community Renewal and New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which help developments like Dayspring become a reality.
I’m also proud to have watched Westhab grow in recent years to meet the needs of more New Yorkers in more communities. From its origins in Yonkers, Westhab has developed a diverse portfolio of housing and service programs from northern Westchester to New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, and Mamaroneck, and more recently, in New York City. Westhab recognized that it had the capacity to do more, and it has built a model that is working for thousands of New Yorkers.
The cost of living and the lack of affordable housing in our community remain persistent challenges. That is why I have championed various programs that help low- and moderate-income individuals and families get ahead in life and obtain a safe, quality place to call home. It is why I led the legislature in passing the most tenant-friendly rent laws in state history, and continue to fight for additional resources for state agencies that fund and subsidize affordable housing developments.
In partnership with nonprofit organizations like Westhab, we are making a difference by providing pathways to permanent housing for people who are experiencing homelessness and upward mobility for those re-entering or trying to advance in the workforce. Through strong, accountable public-private collaboration, we can meet the needs of all New Yorkers and set an example of how to create a community that works for all its members.
Thank you and congratulations to Westhab for 40 years of service, especially to the hard-working professionals on the front lines who fill essential jobs and support those in our community most in need. I’m excited for the future of this growing and effective organization that truly embodies its mission—Building Communities. Changing Lives.