By: Noelle Lambert
The Charity of the Month for June is:
New Ground is a non-profit organization that helps to break the cycle of homelessness right here in Nassau and Suffolk counties. This organization began all from the vision of an educator that was committed to providing a safe haven for those living in poverty. This educator saw that shelters were only providing a short-term fix to a problem that needed a real, lasting solution. After envisioning an organization that provided a holistic suite of support services while empowering participants to help themselves, she founded New Ground in 1991 to do just that.
New Ground, based in Levittown, offers Veterans and families the following main programs to truly help them conquer homelessness: their Long Term Housing Program, their JumpStart Program and their Veterans Program. Their services include Adult Workshops, Career Development, Education Advocacy, Education Assistance, Financial Literacy, Reading All-Stars, Special Memories and Tutoring.
Their Long Term Housing Program combines affordable housing with New Ground’s intensive services. Currently this includes a home in Huntington with two homeless Veteran families, a home in Bethpage under renovations and plans to add more housing units. For 3-5 years, New Ground provides all the needed educational, vocational and counseling services to the family members living in this housing, as well as basic needs and general support. Residents also take time with a social worker and put together a plan of how they can reach their goals. All residents pay an affordable rent and although New Ground assists them with various costs and hurdles they may face, they truly get the feeling of being a responsible homeowner.
New Ground’s JumpStart Program launched in 2012 to expand these critical services to additional homeless families on their wait-list for the Long Term Housing Program. This Program is open to any homeless families, not just Veterans, and is intended to give families a jump-start on accomplishing their goals. When these families later transition into the Long Term Housing Program, they are well on their way toward realizing the steps needed to secure an independent future.
A primary social worker is assigned to all families in both of these programs once they start with the organization. New Ground social workers provide guidance, resources and assistance to the families in various areas.
The New Ground Veterans Program is another very important part to their organization. Homeless Veterans can get placed in reduced cost housing and be provided with intensive social work and education services by New Ground to assist them with achieving goals in the areas of employment, financial literacy, education, career development, parenting, basic life skills, education advocacy and more. In 2016 their services were expanded so they can serve an even greater number of Veteran households. Through collaboration with the Northport VA Center, New Ground began offering their programs to over 400 homeless Veteran households in their Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Program.
Since opening their doors, New Ground has seen over 80% of the families they have served “graduate” from their programs self-sufficient and into permanent stable housing. New Ground empowers children, parents and Veterans to achieve their goals so that they can secure a brighter future for generations to come!
New Ground is a huge help to the homeless community on Long Island and is there for those in need. If you would like to inquire about assistance from this organization, please call their office at 516.564.4764 or email Diane Serenita, their Director of Development and Events, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read next week’s article to find out many ways you can become involved with this organization so you can help others too!
The above drawing is by Lorraine Reardon and depicts a New Ground family transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing.
If you would like your organization to be featured in this column, email Noelle@SouthBaysNeighbor.com!