Westhab, Inc., in Yonkers, NY, has numerous programs for people experiencing homelessness, including people experiencing homelessness and a mental health disorder. Programs include drop-ins, at which individuals can come in off of the street at night, sleep, and leave the next day; street outreach teams that go out throughout Yonkers to engage with people and bring them in to a shelter in Yonkers, who also offer an opportunity to come to the shelter and use the laundry or computers, even if an individual is not willing to stay overnight; 24-hour shelters, one in White Plains and one in Yonkers; an emergency housing program which places individuals in apartments throughout Westchester; and permanent supportive housing for people with a disability. Supportive housing programs that Westhab, Inc. operates through the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health require that the disability be a mental health disability. Other programs, including Turning Point, are for those with a disability that is either a mental health disability or a physical disability. All referrals for housing in Westchester County go through the Single Point of Access process, in which individuals with long-standing disabilities and multiple disabilities, deemed highest need, are prioritized and selected for housing first. People who apply for housing are assessed at walk-in locations including the Westchester County Department of Social Services office, and then entered into the system. Westhab, Inc. operates 60% of Westchester County’s homeless shelters and permanent supportive housing programs. As an agency, 10% of their work is based in Westchester County; they have grown throughout the five boroughs of New York City and have over 1,000 employees. If a person sees someone in Yonkers who appears to be homeless and appears to have a mental health disorder, one can call Westhab’s main office at (914) 345-2800 to be forwarded to the street outreach team, who will make a connection with the person. A current struggle in helping people get housing as soon as possible is meeting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirement of documentation by a licensed New York state professional who can diagnose and treat the disability, stemming from a lack of openings for appointments with professionals, which can hold up the application process and therefore housing. Westhab, Inc. is located at 8 Bashford Street, Yonkers, NY 10701, and can be reached by phone at (914) 345-2800.
Thank you to Jesse Johnson, MPA, Assistant Vice President of Data and Quality Assurance, Westhab, Inc., for this interview.