Squadron is a real ‘Champ’ at helping settlement houses


By John Bayles

Last week, state Senator Daniel Squadron was recognized by United Neighborhood Houses, a nonprofit organization that promotes and advocates for settlement houses and their communities throughout New York City.

As the inaugural recipient of the Settlement House Champion Award, Squadron was honored specifically for his role in securing $9 million in state funding for settlement house programs and for his overall dedication to the issue since he arrived on the scene in Albany two years ago.

The roots of his advocacy on behalf of these communities, 38 of which exist as members of U.N.H., can be traced to their high concentration in the district Squadron represents, which includes the East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Among local settlement houses that received funding thanks to Squadron’s efforts were the Chinese American Planning Council, the Educational Alliance, Grand Street Settlement in Chinatown, Hamilton-Madison House, Henry Street Settlement and University Settlement.

The settlement housing model focuses on vulnerable populations, including young children, senior citizens and the homeless, as well as people with mental illness. Each settlement house community has programs designed to nurture individuals from childhood through adulthood and into old age by providing services geared to their specific needs.

“We thought Senator Squadron to be an extraordinary example of commitment, tenacity and generosity when it came to these communities,” said Nancy Wackstein, U.N.H. executive director.

“We didn’t even need to lobby for this money,” said Wackstein. “Senator Squadron’s efforts were assisted greatly by Assembly Speaker Silver. Their districts overlap and they both share the commitment to the cause.”

Squadron together with Silver spearheaded the initiative during the past two years.