The Founders of Supportive Housing Recognized at the Network’s Annual Awards Gala

Categories: Network Events


The Supportive Housing Network of New York celebrates the achievements of our community.

The founders of the supportive housing movement.
New York's supportive housing community came together on October 13th for a particularly special version of our annual Network Awards Gala in a year that saw historic commitments from the Governor and Mayor for 35,000 new units of supportive housing. We honored Father John McVean, Father John Felice, Ellen Baxter, Tony Hannigan, John Tynan, Laura Jervis, Stephan Russo, Connie Tempel, David Gillcrist (for Project FIND) and our own Bill Traylor --  the pioneers of the supportive housing movement.

More than 600 guests joined us at Capitale to celebrate these outstanding individuals of supportive housing and our amazing community. The mood was festive during the 90 minute cocktail hour as friends and colleagues revived old friendships and forged new ones.

The night’s festivities continued with our awards ceremony. This year, in addition to the distinctive recognition offered to our founders, we honored two remarkable tenants, three outstanding residences, and a Private Sector Partner of the Year, Alembic Community Development.

Network Board Chair and Richman Housing Resources President Bill Traylor welcomed the crowd, and introduced the Network’s Executive Director, Laura Mascuch, who expressed her heartfelt thanks to the Network’s Board, staff and the community for all their support.

Shatiera Freeman, of The Door and Breaking Ground, accepted the first of the evening’s two Tenant of the Year awards from the Network’s Sydney Kopp-Richardson. Ms. Freeman, a young adult who has spent much of her life in foster care, has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others, most recently in her work as a peer counselor with PAUS (Peers Against Unsafe Sex).

The Network’s Rebecca Sauer presented our upstate Residence of the Year award to Marlies Wesolowski of Lt. Colonel Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York for their gorgeous Hope Gardens residence, serving 20 chronically homeless women. Ms. Wesolowski spoke movingly about her own experiences growing with a single mom in deplorable public housing “as a small child I’d wake up with a rat crawling across my bed” and described how profoundly this affected her choice to work in supportive housing.

Steve Coe, of Community Access, welcomed Mark Reed of Alembic Community Development to the podium to receive our Private Sector Partner of the Year award, and talked about the huge impact that Alembic has made on New York supportive housing. Alembic’s Co-Founder Mark Reed noted that nonprofits are critical to supportive housing development.

Father John Felice of St. Francis Friends of the Poor.

Network Chair Bill Traylor introduced the special honorees from the founding of the movement with heartfelt words and the personal insight of someone who began his career in supportive housing working with these icons. He invited Father John Felice of St. Francis Friends of the Poor and the other founders in the audience to the stage to receive this Distinctive Recognition– a group in which Traylor himself is included. Father Felice spoke about the early days, and the founders got a standing ovation from the crowd in recognition of their transformative achievements in creating and nurturing our supportive housing movement.

Ms. Sauer presented the second Residence of the Year Award to Dan Johannson of ACMH, Inc., who graciously shared credit with the many amazing partners involved in creating East 144th Street Affordable Housing, all of whom are longtime Network supporters.

The final Tenant of the Year Award was presented to Shannon Landy of Community Access by Ms. Kopp-Richardson. Ms. Landy spoke in detail about the life of incomprehensible trauma that she lived before finding a new life thanks to supportive housing. She is now an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and people living with mental illness.

The magnificent renovation of Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Capitol Hall residence claimed the final Residence of the Year Award, presented by Ms. Sauer to Stephan Russo, who gave kudos to the many collaborators who came together to so effectively prepare this early supportive housing residence for the coming decades.

The evening ended with more cocktails, conversation, and delicious desserts!

You can also read more about each of our honorees by following the links here and check out the photos of the evening.

We hope to see you at next year's Gala!

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