This blog, written by Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, is the fourth installment in our celebratory series: Leading through Change—40 years of Westhab.
As the 32-year old membership organization dedicated to helping our more than 200 nonprofits across New York State create and sustain enough supportive housing to end chronic homelessness, we heartily congratulate our longstanding beloved member—Westhab—on their 40 Anniversary. Not only has Westhab built hundreds of desperately needed supportive units in Westchester and New York City, but they have also been a vital partner advocating for policies to expand resources for this enormously successful intervention.
We were thrilled to be a part of both the topping off and the opening of the magnificent new Dayspring Campus. The project’s integration of greatly needed amenities for the community and rehabilitation of a place of worship helped transform the Nodine Hill neighborhood of Southwest Yonkers. The new community center’s offer of education programs, after-school programming, educational counseling, and vocational training as well as a food pantry could not be more welcome. And, of course, the project’s creation of 63 new apartments for a mix of formerly homeless and low-income individuals and families is so needed. The impact of a home and individualized support services aimed at forever changing the trajectory of tenants’ lives is what makes supportive housing so critically important; the fact that Dayspring will also help at-risk children and young adults on a new path means Dayspring will have an impact on changing lives in the next generation as well.
Westhab’s dedication to serving the most vulnerable is bone-deep, and we at the Network so prize them as a part of our supportive housing community. Evident in their beautiful respectful residences, this commitment is also clear in their role as advocates for more and better supportive housing across the state. When the Network was working to win support for funding of the sixth year of the state’s 2016 commitment to develop 20,000 units of supportive housing in fifteen years, Westhab was there, working to publicize the topping off of their spectacular Dayspring Commons as an example of the state’s dollars in action.
Then, with the push for federal funding for housing as part of what is now the Build Back Better Act, Westhab was there again with an op-ed timed to the opening of Dayspring illustrating the critical need for more national Housing Trust Fund dollars.
Now, with a new governor in Albany, we hope to advocate together for a commitment to the next five years of the state’s 20,000 unit supportive housing commitment as well as a commitment to preserving existing supportive housing. We are also fighting together for #JustPay for supportive housing staff who, day in and day out, do the very hardest work of supporting tenants.
The Supportive Housing Network of New York cherishes Westhab and everyone who works there and wishes them another forty years of excellence and success.