In 1895, Dr. John Lovejoy Elliott, a young man greatly influenced by the growing settlement house and Ethical Culture movements, planted the seed for what became Hudson Guild, organizing the "Hurly Burlies," a social and recreation club for young men in the Chelsea neighborhood. In the next few years, Dr. Elliott established clubs and programs for other groups, including young boys, young girls, working women, and families. In 1897, these disparate programs merged to form Hudson Guild.
The Guild's history is marked by innovation and cutting-edge thought. Among Hudson Guild's early advocacy successes were lobbying for a Model Tenement House Law (1901); the creation of Chelsea Park, the first recreational space in the area (1907); and the approval of new, low-cost, city-funded housing (1938). At the same time, the Guild was offering a widening range of direct programming and services to Chelsea residents, opening dental (1919), prenatal, and well-baby clinics (1921); founding the Elliott Neighbors Club for Senior Citizens (1947); opening one of the city's first community mental health clinics (1948); and the first offerings of English-as-a-Second-Language classes (1950).
The Guild also advocated for anti-poverty programs, including Neighborhood Youth Corp, VISTA and Head Start (1966); worked with other settlement houses and New York City to merge Head Start and daycare (1993); and founded the Chelsea Community-Supported Agriculture co-op (2000).
Today, Hudson Guild provides a broad range of programs including developmental, recreational and rehabilitative services, in a non-labeling, non-stigmatizing fashion. The emphasis of all of the Guild's programs and services is on prevention, comprehensiveness, flexibility and ease of access. In addition to direct services, the Guild supports community development and advocacy efforts on behalf of the community. The Guild's record of success, spanning more than a century of service to the community, is based upon the active involvement of those it serves and the recognition that individual and community needs and problems must be addressed within the larger context of individual, family and community histories, strengths and weaknesses. The goals underlying the work of the Guild are to ensure that each participant is functioning to the maximum of her/his ability and to promote the development of the community as a healthy, viable and supportive environment for all.
HUDSON GUILD SERVICES
Hudson Guild primarily serves people working, living, or going to school in Chelsea, a Manhattan neighborhood bordered to the east and west by Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River, and to the north and south by 34th and 14th Streets. It's easy to see the real estate boom and explosion of high-end restaurants, gourmet food markets, and fine art galleries in Chelsea as indicative of a thriving, wealthy neighborhood. While Chelsea is thriving, it is also home to large public housing developments, and low- and moderate- income housing. The very wealthy, the working professional, the working poor, and retired seniors, all call this neighborhood home. However, a gulf exists between these populations, and Hudson Guild works to bridge that gulf, reconnecting residents to the neighborhood, each other, and needed resources through creative, engaging programming.
Hudson Guild programming is open to all. Each year, Hudson Guild provides a service for more than 11,000 people. Our participants are as diverse as our community, coming from varied cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
Hudson Guild has five program sites: Fulton Center in Robert Fulton Houses on 9th Ave. between 17th and 18th Streets; Hudson Guild Beacon at the O'Henry Learning Center on 17th St. and 9th Ave.; and the John Lovejoy Elliott Center, the Education Center, and the Children's Center in the Elliott-Chelsea development on 26th St. between 9th and 10th Aves.
Because of our roots in the settlement house tradition, Hudson Guild takes an integrated, holistic approach to service provision and community building. The Guild has five main program areas: Children and Youth Services, Adult Services, the Arts, Mental Health Services, and Community Building. From offerings as varied as day care, home-delivered meals for seniors, mental health counseling and live theatre performances, participants choose programming that enhances their lives. None of these program areas exists separately; they work together to provide participants with creative programming engaging bodies and minds, connecting participants to each other and the Chelsea community.