News and Resources

Herminia Palacio appointed Deputy Mayor: Mayor's press release

Friday, January 08, 2016


Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses, said, “I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has appointed Dr. Herminia Palacio as the new Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. With her strong background we know that she will work diligently with settlement houses and other community-based organizations to address our city’s pressing child care, mental health and homelessness issues. We look forward to working with her and the administration to strengthen services for all New Yorkers"

To view the entire release, click here.

Data on Pre-K Program Performance Not Easy for Parents to Find or Understand

Monday, January 04, 2016

On Friday, the city released numbers that detail the performance of many pre-K programs, but for parents, the data isn't easy to find or understand. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio always uses the same phrase to describe his new universal pre-kindergarten program: "high-quality pre-k." But there hasn't been data to support that claim until Friday, when the city released evaluation results for two-thirds of its 1,800 pre-k sites.

The verdict: The programs at 77 percent of the sites are running so well, the children in them should benefit throughout their school years. The results at the other 23 percent of sites suggest that those kids will have no lasting benefit, but education officials refused to see it that way.  

"We make sure that every program that kids go into is a high quality program," said Deputy Schools Chancellor Josh Wallack.

Officials concede that they are using the results in deciding which programs need help.

"We send support in to help a program grow where there are areas for improvement," Wallack said.

Evaluators rated each pre-K program on everything from how classrooms are organized to the questions teachers ask. Research has shown that the results are useful predictors of how children will benefit later in life.

But the de Blasio administration is not exactly presenting the numbers in a parent-friendly way. Visitors to the city website must navigate through several pages to find one gigantic spreadsheet with statistics on each program. However, there is no user's guide, making it impossible to know, for example, what a 3.5 on "Personal Care and Routines" means.

One trend does leap out from the data. Contrary to popular belief, the programs with the lowest scores are all in public schools, and the Pre-K programs with the highest scores are almost all run by outside organizations, rather than the Department of Education.

"Community-based early childhood education programs provide critical programs for our city's children, but their teachers and staff are paid far less than these same teachers in public schools," said Susan Stamler of United Neighborhood Houses.

The finding that lower-paid teachers often are delivering better results might give ammunition to critics of the Department of Education. The agency sidestepped questions about the disparity.

For the original article, click here.

Advocacy groups calls for equal pay for early childhood educators

Friday, December 04, 2015

Program directors and advocates from more than 100 education-based programs in the five boroughs want equal pay for early childhood educators now.

In a letter addressed to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the group Campaign for Children—a partnership between the Emergency Coalition to Save Children Care and the New York City Youth Alliance—the group states that community-based organizations contracted with the Administration for Children’s Services are struggling to stay afloat. The letter states that these workers haven’t had a raise in a decade and make less than Department of Education preschool teachers in public schools.

“The inequalities in compensation often mean the difference between living in poverty or not, and many staff in EarlyLearn programs depend on food stamps, Medicaid and other government programs to fill the gaps caused by inadequate wages,” states the letter. “Assistant teachers and other support staff currently work for significantly lower wages than the $15 per hour guidelines established for the fast-food industry. We ask that your administration immediately move forward to ensure adequate and fair compensation comprehensively throughout the early childhood education system, including for those staff serving children younger than 4 years old.”

Campaign for Children officials say that low salaries mean that they struggle to attract top-tier talent to educate children in the low-income communities they mostly serve.

“All children in New York City deserve access to a high-quality early education—and in order to provide that level of quality, programs must be able to attract, retain and fairly compensate excellent teachers and staff,” said Gregory Brender, co-director of policy and advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses and a member of the Campaign for Children, in a statement. “Addressing salary parity is crucial to strengthening our city’s early childhood education system.”

Non-DOE preschool teachers haven’t had a raise since 2006.

“What people don’t realize is that teachers, especially ones like me who teach 2- to 18-month-olds, are the foundation for children’s learning,” said Nadia Alexander, a 42-year-old head teacher in Brooklyn, in a statement. “We don’t have a general job description since we do everything that needs to be done to ensure each child grows into their full potential. Our pay should reflect that importance.”

The letter offered the mayor and City Hall a few suggestions on how to improve things.

“Your administration made meaningful progress settling the vast majority of the expired labor contracts you inherited on taking office. However, unionized staff in EarlyLearn programs are currently working without a contract and have not had a contract with a pay increase since 2006,” the letter read. “We believe that a simple step to address this issue would be to direct the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Labor Relations to immediately proceed with negotiations and to work with both management and labor to adequately fund a contract for EarlyLearn staff.”

See the full article here

UNH's Kevin Douglas on Tiempo

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Back in July, New York City cut millions of dollars in funding to community based adult literacy programs. Advocates say the impact of the drastic cutback is being felt now.
They want the city to reverse the cuts to a program that offers critical opportunities to New York's most vulnerable.

Joining us this morning are Kevin Douglas, co-director of policy & advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses, council member Carlos Menchaca and Paola Ruiz from the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation.

To watch the discussion, click here.

De Blasio allies push him to act on pre-K pay disparity

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A coalition of education advocates and pre-kindergarten providers are redoubling their push for Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund pay parity between teachers at all pre-K and day care centers in New York City.

De Blasio and his allies have heralded the city's pre-K expansion as a nearly unmitigated success. But the pay parity issue has divided him from many of his most essential supporters in the world of early childhood education, and threatens to damage the continued expansion of the program in future years.

Pre-K and day care teachers at community-based organizations (CBOs) make less money and have fewer benefits than their pre-K counterparts at Department of Education schools. The disparities are vast: DOE pre-K teachers can make up to $91,000 with a master's degree and 20 years of experience, while CBO teachers with identical credentials can earn up to $50,000. There is a second gap between pre-K and day care teachers, even within CBO settings.


The coalition includes many of de Blasio's closest allies in the early education world, raising the stakes for the mayor — among them the Bank Street College of Education, the special education advocacy group Advocates for Children, the Children's Aid Society and large pre-K providers including the Henry Street Settlement and United Neighborhood Houses. The leaders of those organizations lobbied in Albany on behalf of de Blasio's pre-K plan.

Read the entire article here

Klein & Savino Call for Letter Grades for Day Care Facilities in New York City

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and State Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn) today released an investigative report, “The Hidden Dangers in Day Care,” revealing the worst and most persistent violators in the city. The legislators called for a letter-grading system, similar to the popular restaurant A, B, C’s, to communicate clearly to parents a day care facility’s health and safety record.

“A parent cannot always tell by glancing at the colorful class projects at a day care center that there are hidden dangers lurking inside. They trust that providers are qualified and tell the truth about their records. But our report reveals that many day cares across this city rack up chronic violations and some even lie when asked about their records. We want parents to know that the places where they leave their children all day are safe, clean and licensed. Letter-grading on restaurants communicates to the public in a very clear manner the track record of an eatery. We wouldn’t eat at a restaurant with a poor-letter grade, would we leave a child in a place with a bad grade? It’ll undoubtedly lead to day care facilities cleaning up their acts,” said State Senator Jeff Klein.

“When it comes to the safety and sanitation of day care centers, New York City parents are truly left in the dark. While many locations have repeat critical violations, it has become increasingly difficult for parents to track down information about the security, staffing, and cleanliness of the center to which they are entrusting their most precious family members. Parents and guardians need an easy-to-understand, accessible system to let them know that their child’s day care is clean and safe, just as the restaurant letter-grading system lets diners know that a restaurant is clean and safe. In regards to the health and safety of their child, parents should never have to cross their fingers and hope for the best, and with the proposal of this day care letter-grading system, they will no longer have to,” said State Senator Diane Savino.


“The problems identified in the IDC’s report demonstrate the need for the State to invest in high quality early childhood education for all New York’s children. New York’s children deserve facilities that are clean, safe, developmentally appropriate and inviting and a staff that this well-trained and fairly compensated,” said Gregory Brender, co-director of policy and advocacy, United Neighborhood Houses.

The IDC will also advocate for up to $20 million in funding for the QualitystarsNY program to provide strategic direction and improvements to the approximately 330 centers, family-home providers and public schools that the program serves.

To read the entire article, click here.

Capalino+Company Blogs about UNH Benefit

Monday, November 02, 2015
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Capalino+Company is proud to support United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH) which hosted its annual benefit on October 27 to honor executives and leaders of nonprofits and social services who have made a difference in their community.

The celebration, which took place at Tribeca 360, honored Nancy Wackstein, former Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses. BNY Mellon, a corporation that plays an active role on the board, was also recognized for its commitment to communities and philanthropy.

David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement, served as Master of Ceremonies. Top leaders of nonprofits were in attendance, including HRA Commissioner Steven Banks, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong, among others.

Nancy Wackstein, who has had an impressive career in the nonprofit sector for over three decades having been appointed to various advisory commissions and policy task forces by a series of New York City Mayors, recently stepped down as Executive Director of UNH, a position she held since 2002. Susan Stamler, who took over the reins of UNH on October 26, 2015, delivered a heartfelt tribute to Nancy recognizing her hard work and leadership throughout her career. To learn more, read Read Nancy Wackstein’s biography.

Susan joins UNH from M+R Strategic Services where she managed a national juvenile justice campaign.  She previously served as UNH’s Director of Policy & Advocacy from 2001 to 2010. Read Susan Stamler’s bio.

Winners of the 2015 DYCD Step it Up competition, BronxWorks’ very own Classic Steppers, treated us to a performance.

As a membership organization of 38 settlement houses and community centers in New York City, UNH promotes and strengthens the neighborhood-based, multi-service approach to improving the lives of New Yorkers in need. UNH supports its members through policy development, advocacy and capacity-building activities.

To learn more about United Neighborhood Houses of New York, visit

Capalino+Company assists companies doing business in New York City in actively giving back their time, talent and resources to the communities in which they operate. Our team will help you create a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda aligned with your company’s strengths and mission that boosts visibility and improves employee morale while strengthening connections to consumers and clients.

See how Capalino+Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, led by Jeanne Mullgrav, can take your business to the next level.

Read the blog post here

Nancy Wackstein quoted in article about David Dinkins

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t keep in touch with former mayors Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg, and he has clashed with both men. But over the past 25 years, the mayor has frequently talked with the city’s other living ex-mayor, David Dinkins, and was set to preside at a ceremony on Thursday to rename the Municipal Building for the man who served as the city government’s first black chief executive. “We really thought we could change the world, and we did everything we could,” said Nancy Wackstein, a City Hall aide on homelessness. Mr. de Blasio’s friends in the administration said they never expected him to run for mayor. At the time, Mr. de Blasio said he never thought he would, either.
Read the full article here

Mets amazing season benefitted the Citi Community Home Runs charity

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

“This is one time we don’t mind being over budget,” said Ed Skyler, Citi executive vice president and avid Mets fan.

Granderson, ambassador for the Citi Community Home Runs program, will give checks to four area charities — City Harvest, United Neighborhood Houses, USO of Metro New York and New York City’s YMCA — on Monday.

Read the full story here:

United Neighborhood Houses Names Susan Stamler Executive Director

Thursday, September 17, 2015

United Neighborhood Houses Names Susan Stamler Executive Director


New York, September 16, 2015 – United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Susan Stamler as Executive Director of the organization. Stamler will begin her new position October 26, 2015.

Stamler joins UNH from M+R Strategic Services where she managed a national juvenile justice campaign.  Previously she served as UNH’s Director of Policy & Advocacy from 2001 to 2010.

“Susan has a rare combination of experience and intelligence that will allow her to shape UNH's direction and impact the future in a changing environment. She has the passion that policy and advocacy work requires, understands the complexities of multi-service organizations, and has the respect of our community of Executive Directors, funders, and government officials that will help UNH achieve our goals. Susan promises to be a great leader for UNH and an important champion of the settlement house movement,” said Bryna Sanger, President of UNH’s Board of Directors.

Stamler said there is a direct connection between her recent work on juvenile justice reform and the mission of UNH. “While working to reform state juvenile justice systems, I never strayed far from the settlement house philosophy of the early pioneers. These reformers recognized that society had an interest to protect children and invest in their future. These are the very same arguments that we use today to create essential community services. New York City's resiliency depends on its social infrastructure, and settlement houses are a vital part in helping their neighborhoods not only survive but to thrive.”

“For nearly 100 years, UNH has been appreciated and trusted by its members; valued by its partners; and respected by government, foundations and the media. I will continue to build on those strengths and highlight the importance of UNH's membership as a significant economic engine for our City. With a combined operating budget of more than $700 million and 10,000 staff throughout the boroughs, settlement houses are integral to the quality of life for every New Yorker,” Stamler said.

Stamler takes over for Nancy Wackstein, who will leave UNH after 13 years as Executive Director to help educate the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

“I am thrilled to return to UNH and hope to continue Nancy's legacy as a passionate leader of UNH and strong advocate for the vital work of settlement houses and neighborhood centers,” Stamler said.

Stamler joins UNH with more than 35 years of experience in non-profit advocacy. Stamler began her career with New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), worked as Director of City Policy at UJA-Federation, Director of Planned Parenthood's Action Fund, Director of Outreach at the Alliance for Consumer Rights and a founder of the New York AIDS Coalition. A Queens College graduate, Stamler was born in Queens and resides in Brooklyn with her husband, Chris Meyer. They have two adult children.


UNH, founded in 1919, is the membership organization of 38 New York City settlement houses and community centers. UNH member agencies comprise of one of the largest human service systems in New York City and provide high quality services, such as child care, after school activities, summer youth employment, meals on wheels and senior centers, at more than 500 sites to more than a half million New Yorkers each year.