2016 Tenant of the Year: Shannon Landy
Peers lovingly refer to 53-year-old Shannon Landy as “Bubblez”—an apt nickname for the resident extrovert. But Shannon’s cheerful reputation and unrelenting humor may come as a surprise considering her story of incomprehensible trauma.
A child of Maryland, Shannon has dealt with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and PTSD from a lifetime of victimization, including uncountable physical and sexual assaults and unrelenting years of domestic violence. As a means of coping, she started self-medicating with crack at the age of 27. Two years later she got clean, but she relapsed after her father died in her arms.
Shannon purchased a dream home in Seabrook, Maryland but became involved with a man who physically and psychologically abused her for years; she eventually saw no option but to sign over the deed, and she fled to California. There she was again sexually assaulted, this time at the hands of the police. She attempted suicide soonafter, and her treatment team suggested she move back to her family on the East Coast. There, she was hospitalized again.
For the next two years, Shannon was homeless, battling addiction and in and out of psychiatric hospitals – more than twenty times, in fact.
Finally, in 2001, she became a tenant at Community Access’ Gouverneur Court and things started to change. In 2005, she fell in love with her current life partner, fellow resident Kenny, and they together vowed to get clean. Community Access staff helped her with her addiction, and to this day she is drug free. In 2008, following the heartbreaking death of her mother in a fire that decimated her childhood home, an affirming Community Access team provided support and tools for her to grieve. In 2010, Shannon began full time work at the Social Security Administration and, with the support of staff, enrolled in John Jay College. In 2015, she not only graduated with a Master’s degree but received a Graduate Achievement Award for her 163-page thesis: a qualitative research project on domestic violence and addiction amongst women on the Lower East Side.
Shannon has channeled her experiences of trauma into a fierce voice for social change. Today, you might see Shannon advocating for tenants at Gouverneur Court, presenting at conferences on domestic violence or at events such as the Disability Pride Walk or the Philadelphia Mental Health Rally. She is also a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor.
Shannon uses her story as a catalyst for community empowerment, vocally advocating for overdose prevention and housing for survivors of domestic violence. We are thrilled to honor her bravery and accomplishments as an Outstanding Tenant of the Year.