The history of Samaritan Daytop Village is a history of innovation and leadership. And our success has been supported over the years by a professional staff that is dedicated and committed to our mission. Read about our 50+ year history of helping thousands of New Yorkers improve the quality of their lives through treatment for substance abuse, innovative services for veterans, and programs for homeless individuals, women and children, seniors and families.
1960s: Formation in Queens
With humble beginnings, Samaritan Daytop Village began in the early 1960s as the Astoria Consultation Center, offering adolescent counseling in a Queens church. Astoria Consultation Center quickly became one of New York City’s first and most innovative drug treatment and counseling centers.
1970s: Pioneering Substance Abuse Treatment
In 1970, the agency opens its first residential facility to treat addiction in Richmond Hill, Queens with twelve clients. By 1975, the agency establishes itself as a pioneer in substance abuse treatment when it launches the country’s first methadone-to-abstinence residential treatment program also in Queens. Now under the name Samaritan Village, the agency begins acquiring facilities in Manhattan and the Bronx for residential treatment and forges working relationships with New York State and municipal departments of the City of New York. Cognizant of the need to foster personal and professional growth among its clients, the organization introduces services to encourage residents to pursue education and career training while in treatment. Samaritan Village is one of the first providers to offer primary health care services alongside treatment to address Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases facing clients.
1980s: Launch of First Veteran-Focused Program
Starting in the 1980’s Samaritan Village identifies a population, primarily Vietnam veterans, with special treatment needs. In response, Samaritan Village pioneers a model where substance abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other life challenges could be addressed simultaneously. In 1996, Samaritan Village opens the State’s first licensed residential treatment facility specifically for veterans in midtown Manhattan. The program receives national attention and is replicated ten years later with the Ed Thompson Veterans Program in Queens.
1990s: Addressing Alternatives to Incarceration and Homelessness
In 1991, Samaritan Village launches its “On the Right Track” program at Grand Central Station for homeless substance abusers. The Forbell Men’s Shelter follows in 1995, offering temporary shelter to homeless men referred by the City while treating them for substance abuse. In 1992, Samaritan Village partners with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to develop treatment services for persons involved in the criminal justice system through innovative “alternatives to incarceration” programs. In 1994, the agency begins to confront the challenges posed by addicts in treatment living with HIV/AIDS patients and establishes the nation’s first nursing home for this population in conjunction with Project Return and HELP. In 1999, Samaritan Village sees the importance of providing services to the community’s elderly and assumes operation of the Woodside Senior Center.
2000s: Capital Investment and New Veterans Services
The 2000s see major capital investments in Samaritan Village's facilities. In 2003, construction begins on a “state-of-the-art” Methadone-to-Abstinence Residential Program in Richmond Hill, Queens that will include a vocational training center and a fully equipped health care unit. In 2004, designs are completed for the comprehensive renovation of the agency’s Ellenville campus in upstate New York. Improvements will include new class rooms, counseling offices, medical space, a gymnasium, and accessible accommodations for the disabled. In 2006 Samaritan Village opens Ed Thompson Veterans Program in Queens, its second facility for addicted veterans in response to increasing numbers of veterans returning from the Middle East. Samaritan Village secures State funding and begins construction of a stand alone residential facility in Ellenville, among the first of its kind in the nation, to treat chemically dependent women veterans.
2010s: Expansion of Programs
2010 sees the start of a major expansion at Samaritan Village, driven in large part by the growth of its homeless services portfolio in response to New York City’s call for quality shelter services. Gloria’s House and Bridge Haven, Samaritan Village’s first transitional housing facilities for homeless families, open in 2011 as does a shelter in Brooklyn for single women. A second men’s shelter, “53rd Street,” opens in Manhattan in 2013. Samaritan Village receives its first grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011 to fund the Support Services for Veteran Families Program, which works to combat homelessness. The agency also receives a $2 million, five-year federal grant to offer HIV screening and prevention at its Jamaica Outpatient Program.
On the heels of this growth, Samaritan Village secures over $23 million in capital dollars from the State to renovate its Highbridge facility in the Bronx and $1.2 million from the City Council and the Manhattan Borough President to upgrade its Young Mothers Program, further ensuring that facilities continue to meet health and safety standards.
In 2014, Samaritan Village opens its first mental health shelter in Brooklyn, offering on-site clinical services for residents. Samaritan Village begins direct administration of a 100-bed, co-ed residential facility in Ellenville (“Cape Road”) and becomes the permanent operator in April 2015. Also in 2015 Samaritan Village receives a $1.75 million grant from the State, continuing its expansion of its permanent supportive housing portfolio to provide apartments for clients leaving treatment or shelter/transitional housing programs.
Mergers and Partnerships Further Evolve Portfolio
Samaritan Village builds a strong reputation within New York’s network of treatment providers leading to new opportunities for growth and partnerships. In November 2013, the agency partners with Damian Family Care Centers at the NYC Department of Corrections’ Vernon C. Bain Center to provide behavioral health services for detainees.
In 2013 Samaritan Village merges with Veritas, preserving treatment programs in Manhattan Village and Harlem, and further diversifying services. With the Veritas merger, Samaritan Village also begins providing assessment and referral services to at-risk families in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Social Services. Originally offered in White Plains, Mount Vernon and Peekskill, assessment and referral services are extended to Yonkers in January 2014.
The Robin Hood Foundation partners with Samaritan Village and provides a grant to fund a team of “veteran navigators” to assist at-risk veterans and their families access treatment and housing placement services.
In 2014, Samaritan Village enters into discussions to merge with Daytop Village, an iconic substance abuse services provider based in New York with international outreach services. An agreement is signed in December delineating plans to formally merge the two agencies. In October 2015, Samaritan Village and Daytop Village officially merge and, with that merger, changes the newly combined agency's name to Samaritan Daytop Village.
Helping Shape New York's Healthcare Policies
Nationwide, health and behavioral health providers work to adapt to the federal Affordable Health Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. Samaritan Daytop Village, including its President and CEO, participates in several state task forces and advisory councils, such as the Medicaid Redesign Team and the Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council, all tasked with integrating behavioral and primary healthcare, lowering health care costs, improving service quality and overall population health and patient care.
Today at Samaritan Daytop Village
Today, Samaritan Daytop Village serves over 28,000 men, women and children each year at more than 50 locations throughout New York City, Long Island and upstate New York. The agency continues its work to fully capitalize on its strengths, particularly the professionalism of its staff and its creative spirit, to address emerging health and behavioral health policy changes occurring at the federal and state levels.
For more than five decades, Samaritan Daytop Village has been doing communities of good…worlds of good... for New Yorkers. Samaritan Daytop Village remains committed to providing premier health and human services to New York's men and women, families, veterans, homeless individuals and seniors. We are New York and we are doing more good in more ways than you ever possibly imagined.