For decades, individuals with chronic psychiatric disabilities were housed in psychiatric facilities where they received little to no socialization, life skills, rehabilitation, or employment services. In the early 1970s, a movement swept across the nation to deinstitutionalize patients and discharge them to community care—an event that resulted in thousands of formerly hospitalized individuals living on the streets, in homeless shelters or in prisons.
Community Access was founded in 1974 as a proactive and bold response to the mass release of patients from New York's psychiatric hospitals. Our founders pooled their energies, monies and efforts to assist residents in obtaining housing, reconnecting with the community, finding work and rebuilding social ties. These early efforts became the prototype for one of the nation's first supportive housing programs.
Community Access has since expanded beyond housing to also offer comprehensive support services, job training, counseling, education and advocacy programs to meet the needs of individuals who include people living with HIV/AIDS, veterans, those with histories of substance abuse, and the formerly incarcerated. We are proud that our award-winning programs are being rapidly replicated across the country—and that, each day, we are able to empower individuals to lead healthy, independent lives.