Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation Joins United Neighborhood Houses as Associate Member

United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), the membership organization of settlement houses in New York City, is now stronger by one member. At their March meeting, the UNH Board of Directors voted to welcome Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation in Far Rockaway, Queens, as an Associate Member, making them the 38th settlement house in the nearly century-old organization.

Settlement houses serve more than a half million New Yorkers annually by offering services directly related to the needs in their communities. They provide early childhood education, after-school programs, college readiness, job skills training, English classes, housing and immigration legal support, homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation facilities, home health care, meals-on-wheels, senior centers, and much more.

Ocean Bay is deeply rooted in their Far Rockaway community. They are best known for their workforce development program which trains unemployed or underemployed youth and adults in academic and vocational skills. They offer community engagement initiatives, community service opportunities, and identify job opportunities for the formerly incarcerated – an important program to reduce recidivism. Ocean Bay is helping the Far Rockaway community become a healthier, more vibrant neighborhood.

Membership in UNH will help Ocean Bay connect their geographically isolated community to the broader settlement house community in New York City. They will have access to workgroups to share best practices, capacity building programs that help with program development, scholarships and trainings for staff members, and will join the unified voice of settlement house advocacy.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ocean Bay into the UNH family. We are looking forward to supporting Ocean Bay as they expand their services and begin serving more community members, including older adults. In addition, we are learning from them how to best develop newer settlement houses,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses.

The development of Ocean Bay into a settlement house is made possible by a grant to UNH from Citi Foundation, which aims to support the Rockaway community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Through this grant, UNH has been working with Ocean Bay to strengthen their organizational structure and programming to help them fit into the settlement house model.

“Working with UNH has been a wonderful way to meet our goals of providing more support in our community. We are looking forward to working with UNH and other settlement houses as we develop our programs and expand the number of people we serve,” said Pat Simon, Executive Director at Ocean Bay CDC.

By supporting Ocean Bay, UNH is supporting the community they serve. We are proud to have them as a new associate member and look forward to learning from them and supporting their goals.

UNH, founded in 1919, is the membership organization of 38 New York City settlement houses and community centers. UNH member agencies comprise of one of the largest human service systems in New York City and provide high quality services at more than 600 sites to more than a half million New Yorkers each year. www.unhny.org