Brief History and Mission Statement -Jan
Project FIND originated in 1967 as a demonstration project designed to canvass New York City’s elderly West Siders and document their needs. Funded by the National Council on the Aging, the survey found thousands of elders living in solitude and unsafe conditions, malnourished or ill. In 1969, spurred by these findings, visionary Elizabeth Stecher Trebony and several religious and lay leaders incorporated as the nonprofit organization FIND Aid for the Aged, Inc., formally resolved to find and assist the Friendless, Isolated, Needy, and Disabled aged.
Initially working to focus public and media scrutiny on the growing crisis of homelessness among elders, and the dire need for low-income housing, our founders began to create such havens. Ten years and millions of hard-won government dollars later, we had purchased Hamilton House, on West 73 rd Street; the Woodstock Hotel, an SRO facility in Times Square; and Hargrave House on West 71 st Street. In a six-year period, we opened five senior centers that continue to serve West Side seniors today: the Coffeehouse on Ninth Avenue near the Port Authority terminal, the Clinton Sr. Center on West 55 th Street, and three located in our residential buildings. After extensive and costly renovations, our housing had become home to 600 elders and our centers were drawing thousands, many of whom were as starved for company as they were for food.
Today, Project FIND’s mission remains:
To provide low and moderate-income elderly West Siders with housing, nutritional, and additional support services that enhance their quality of life and emotional well-being and help them live independently in the community for as long as possible.
With 80 staff members and an overall budget of $6 million, we render the following basic services:
Supportive Housing: Many of the tenants in our residential buildings simply require affordable, well-maintained lodging, while others, suffering from psychological or bodily ills, need special services. Our ten social workers aid the elders with benefits-procurement, hospital-release planning, home-care arrangement, and referral for substance abuse counseling and treatment of severe physical and mental health problems. Cooperative relationships with area hospital and healthcare agencies enable us to afford tenants access to regular on-site medical assistance. With our holistic approach and meticulous casework, Project FIND becomes an elder’s community; a home with the welcome mat out; and, for the utterly bereft, an extended family to share small pleasures and big occasions with, and accompaniment to his or her journey’s end.
Connecting Elderly Neighbors: Our five senior centers present a broad array of services to the 600 tenants in our residential buildings and to some 2,500 elders in theWest Side environs. We supply 250,000 life-sustaining, nutritious breakfasts and lunches a year. We also furnish center members with much-needed emotional support and medical, referral, and social services, as well as social, recreational, educational, and cultural activities to nourish body, mind, and spirit.
Reaching Out - and in - to the Homeless. The ideal outcome of our Homeless In-reach Program is to place homeless elders in permanent housing. We accompany them through the frequently bewildering bureaucratic maze of the City’s homeless-services system: help them obtain identification papers; secure medical, detoxification, psychiatric, and a variety of counseling and other rehabilitative services; and cope with the hardships of transitional housing and shelters. OurTimes Square drop-in center offers handicapped-accessible showers, private-consultation space, and ample quantities of free clothing for the men and women elderly who are homeless or otherwise lacking stable home environments.
With a number of our elders now joining the ranks of the "old olds" (many in their 80s and 90s), we are deepening our service, to meet their changing, more complex, and escalating needs.