US Expands Behavioral Health Services for LES Children and Families

In a press conference on Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced a $12 investment to help existing organizations specializing in family and youth development expand their capacity and develop innovative new services.

University Settlement was honored with a $1.3 million grant through this investment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”). The grant will support our evidence-based counseling for parents, helping them build stronger relationships with their children; it will also support our work with children of all ages in mental health counseling and wellness.

Additionally, University Settlement will be partners in the Youth Opportunity Hub grants awarded by DA Vance to our sister organization, The Door, and the Lower East Side Settlement House Hub.

Learn more about this exciting new opportunity in our press release below. Be sure to also check out our coverage in The Lo-Down as well as photos from the press conference on our Facebook page.

The Lo-Down: Lower East Side Organizations receive Millions For Youth Programming

DA Cy Vance announced $58 million in grants for crime prevention initiatives during a media event held at the headquarters of The Door, a community-based group in SoHo [on Monday]. University Settlement is the recipient of a $1.33 million award for parenting groups and adolescents.




Amy R. Brenna


(New York, NY) February 27, 2017 – 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, teens, and their families, funded through the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”).

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. held a press conference today to announce the investment of $45.9 million to create and construct five “Youth Opportunity Hubs,” a first-of-its-kind effort to knit together community-based providers and build new physical spaces for young people in target Manhattan neighborhoods; and an additional $12 million investment to help existing organizations specializing in family and youth development expand their capacity and develop innovative new services.

Melissa Aase, the Executive Director of University Settlement, said at the press conference: “We are so very honored to receive a Family and Youth Development grant from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.  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.

Thanks to D.A. Vance and his team, 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.”

This grant will support University Settlement’s evidence-based counseling that will impact families struggling in their relationships with their children, and also help children avoid high risk behaviors and choices.  Importantly, these funds will give us the ability to work clinically with parents as well as their children in their homes, in addition to program sites.

Additionally, University Settlement was active in designing, and will be a partner in, the Lower East Side Youth Opportunity Hub. For the first time, all six settlement houses on the Lower East Side will collectively work together on an impact project in our neighborhood.  We will also be a partner in The Door’s Youth Opportunity Hub.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of University Settlement, I want to thank Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. for his recognition and support of University Settlement’s pioneering and innovative community-based programs,” said Eric Weingartner, Chief Executive Officer of University Settlement, The Door, and Broome Street Academy.  “I applaud his vision and leadership in funding transformative Family and Youth Development programs that will bring vital mental health care to families that have little or no access to high quality services.  We will all benefit, because strong families are the foundation of healthy communities, and a healthy New York City.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said: “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.”

For press inquiries, please contact:  Amy R. Brenna, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications, or 212-453-0285.

About University Settlement
University Settlement is one of New York’s most dynamic social justice institutions with deep roots on the Lower East Side.  Each year University Settlement’s diverse programs help over 30,000 low-income and at-risk people build better lives for themselves and their families. With an impressive legacy as the first settlement house in the United States, University Settlement has been an incubator for progressive ideas for 130 years, offering pioneering programs in mental health, early childhood education, literacy, arts education, and adolescent development that set the standard.  Building on the strength of this experience, University Settlement now provides services at 30+ locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. To learn more, visit

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