US Awarded Grant by Manhattan DA

University Settlement is proud to announce that it has been awarded a 4 year, $1.3 million grant to provide behavioral health services to Lower East Side children and teens, and their families. This grant is funded through the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”).

University Settlement was also awarded additional funds through two Youth Opportunity Hubs, one led by our sister organization, The Door, and one organized to support young people on the Lower East Side.

Today, Melissa Aase, the Executive Director of University Settlement, spoke at a press event held by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. at our sister organization, The Door. We’d like to share her remarks, plus a statement from D.A.Vance.

You can also check out photos from the press conference on The Door’s Facebook page!



We are so very honored to receive a Family and Youth Development grant from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and also to be partners in The Door and the Lower East Side Youth Opportunity Hubs! D.A. Vance had the deep insight to understand that investing in families is one key to building resilient young people, and preventing bigger problems in the future.

University Settlement, and the worldwide settlement house movement, was built on the idea that working in neighborhoods, side by side as partners with families, acting together on the potential within every person, will yield the smartest long-term solutions and make our society stronger.

We know we have farther to go, for as we celebrate today we also think of young people we have needlessly lost from the Lower East Side — Vincent, Sadonte, Elliot.

But thanks to D.A. Vance and the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, we can and will relentlessly pursue the goal of creating a positive future with every family and young person in our community. These investments are transformative, they will save lives, and University Settlement is very grateful to be a part of this good work.



The role of law enforcement in the 21st century is not merely to arrest and prosecute. We can deliver greater public safety and healthier communities if we prevent young people from coming into contact with the justice system in the first place. The ill-gotten gains seized in our financial crime prosecutions represent a windfall opportunity to prevent crime by investing in our youth. I am thrilled to invest these funds in 100 of New York’s most venerable youth and family service organizations in East Harlem, Central and West Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side. By creating attractive spaces offering one-stop resources and serving thousands of additional young people and families, we can help build the strongest generation of New Yorkers yet.

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