BFL’s Secret Garden Opens New Space, Unveils Historical Timeline

May 17, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living's (BFL) Secret Garden domestic violence program welcomed staff and supporters to the grand opening of its new healing space this May. A historical timeline was unveiled (photo above) mapping the program's decades of providing services to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. "This is a great new home where we can focus on our comprehensive services. We welcome all agency staff to attend our regular workshops and trainings, or… read more

Barrier Free Living Presents: Exploring the Intersection of Domestic Violence, Disability & Trauma

May 13, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Cynthia Amodeo, Chief Program Officer at Barrier Free Living and Jules Perkel, Program Director at Barrier Free Living's Secret Garden, will co-present this presentation at this year's conference.  According to the Office on Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, research suggests that women with disabilities are more likely to suffer domestic violence and sexual assault than women without disabilities, and women with disabilities report abuse that lasts longer… read more

BFL’s Freedom House Launches Art Therapy Group

May 13, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Making art with others is an expression of hope. (Bruce L. Moon, art therapist. Above, art created as part of BFL's Transitional Housing program art group circa 1990.) This spring, Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter launched a new art therapy group for residents (watch a virtual tour of Freedom House here). The group, created by a current MSW intern at Freedom House hopes to “offer a space for residents to express themselves in a playful… read more

Debt & Domestic Violence

May 10, 2019 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
April was recognized as Financial Literacy Month in the U.S. and there were a roster of events shining a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education. Barrier Free Living’s programs (Secret Garden, Freedom House, BFL Apartments) offer a variety of financial literacy workshops and educational forums throughout the year for our tenants, residents and participants who are survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. Our Freedom House domestic violence shelter works with The… read more

Barrier Free Living Celebrates Mother’s Day

May 10, 2019 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living celebrated Mother's Day with staff, tenants, residents and participants at our BFL Apartments, Secret Garden and Freedom House programs this May. "We honor the mother's at our program every day. We are taking this opportunity to serve lunch featuring poetry and unity (photo above)," says Irma Williams, Director of Social… read more

BFL Featured In Patch News

May 10, 2019 Current Events, Disability News 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living is featured in Patch, an East Village news source this May. The Patch story focuses on the progress of the agency's new project at the site of the former Transitional Housing program in Manhattan's East Village. Read the article here… read more

BFL Apartments’ Tenant Miss Flo Teams With Social Worker For Success

May 8, 2019 Advocacy, Our Stories 0 Comments
Miss Flo, one of the original tenants of Barrier Free Living Apartments in the Bronx, was an active part of the community from the start. She  was a founding member of the garden club, and was a regular attendee of Occupational Therapy groups and workshops. In 2017, however, two strokes that came only ten days apart, landed her in the hospital. "I was very close to death," says Flo. Flo recovered and returned… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House: Denise Survivor Spotlight  

April 2, 2019 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
An encounter with an occupational therapist during a hospital stay in 2017 was the first step in Denise’s journey to safety. “I was in the hospital for a multiple sclerosis flare up. I had a week before I had to go home. My living situation was toxic. Mental and psychological abuse,” says Denise. “I was scared and my blood pressure was going up. An occupational therapist asked me about my blood pressure and she ended up telling me she had been… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Cynthia Amodeo On Panel: Enhancing and Building New Approaches for Serving Survivors of Crime

March 26, 2019 Current Events 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living's Chief Program Officer Cynthia Amodeo participated on a panel as part of the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII) Grantee Conference on March 22. Cynthia spoke on a panel of grantees about the Deaf Services Initiative, funded by the Manhattan District Attorneys Office (DANY). The conference was sponsored by DANY and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, which is an administrator and technical assistance partner of the CJII grant program. Cynthia’s panel… read more

Staff Spotlight: Julissa Vasquez Freedom House Director of Social Services

March 21, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Julissa Vasquez joined Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter team this past year as Director of Social Services. Julissa has a Master's degree in Social Work from Hunter College and she’s been working in social services for the past decade. Currently, she is doing a research project for Stony Brook University about the intersection of domestic violence and disability.  Julissa takes a few moments to share her… read more

ReelAbilities Film Festival New York Tickets On Sale

March 14, 2019 Current Events 0 Comments
Tickets for the ReelAbilities Film Festival New York are on sale, and Barrier Free Living is proud to be an outreach partner of this dynamic event again this year. The Oscar® nominated and Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky’s film “Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, will open the 11th annual festival on April 2. The festival continues until April… read more

BFL’s Cynthia Amodeo Inducted Into Women In Human Services Hall of Fame

March 14, 2019 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living's Chief Program Officer Cynthia Amodeo was inducted this March into the Women in Human Services Hall of Fame. An event inside the Legislative Office Building near the state Capitol recognized more than 60 women.  It was noted that the human services workforce is 81% women. Read about the honorees here. … read more

Butler Street Coop Donates Toys & Books To Barrier Free Living Learning Center

February 22, 2019 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Shelter 0 Comments
  The volunteer-led Butler Street Coop had to close its Brooklyn based playground/pre-school this winter, but the silver lining came in the form of donations to the new Learning Center for kids at Barrier Free Living apartments in the South Bronx. The Coop donated books, toys and musical instruments to the center. Barrier Free Living apartments offers permanent homes to survivors of domestic… read more

Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Davis, Freedom House Social Worker

February 11, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
When Jennifer Davis took a leap to pursue social work in 2014, it was the voice of a Barrier Free Living resident that guided her. “My (graduate school) statement of purpose started with a quote from a resident at Barrier Free Living’s transitional housing program**,” says Jennifer. “Speedy (the resident) said to me that ‘sometimes the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is because I know Luca… read more

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 8, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Contributor Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the Assisstant Director of Social Services at Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter. Sara is a licensed social worker who received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2015. Sara has been a social worker at Freedom House since 2015, where she provides individual and group counseling to adults, children and adolescents. Prior to Freedom House… read more

V-Day February 14

February 7, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that occurs in February. Learn more about V-Day here.  V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery. Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers… read more

Inclusion Advocacy Training Series: Free Training For Women and Girls with Disabilities and their Allies

January 25, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Disability News 0 Comments
NYC Women & Teen Girls with Disabilities:  Upskilling Training Program Training program for women and teen girls with disabilities in NYC to advance skills in preparation for civic engagement RespectAbility is on the front lines of advancing the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. We are passionate about bringing intersectionality into our work, and into the nonprofit sector at-large. We are excited to announce a new effort to raise the voices, lives and experiences of New York City’s almost 500,000 women and… read more

Staff Spotlight: Aja Ruffin

January 2, 2019 BFL News 0 Comments
Aja Ruffin, a Resident Aide at Freedom House, joined the team in 2016 with a drive to help others, and a desire to grow. She found both working with the team. BFL: When did you join BFL, and what drew you to apply? Aja: I joined BFL on February 24th, 2016. Having previously worked with children at The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, another non-profit organization, I wanted to continue to help people… read more

JCJ Architecture Tapped to Design New Building for Barrier Free Living

December 5, 2018 BFL News, Current Events 0 Comments
The new housing facility will be located in the heart of Manhattan and is designed to support survivors of domestic abuse NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- JCJ Architecture today announces the firm will design a groundbreaking new project for Barrier Free Living (BFL), a leading NYC community nonprofit that provides services and support for survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. The $30 million project is anticipated to break ground in Fall… read more

PopGym Self Defense Workshop At Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House Domestic Violence Shelter

November 16, 2018 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Working from a philosophy that takes both a physical and an emotional approach to self defense, PopGym held a workshop for the residents of Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter this October. (Take a short virtual tour of Freedom House here.) We caught up with PopGym team member Grey to find out a bit more about this innovative organization in New York City. BFL: How did you get… read more

No Barriers Summit: Innovation For People With Disabilities

November 13, 2018 Current Events, Disability News 4 Comments
Blog contributor Julia Alberino retired in 2011 after more than thirty years as a health care administrator in both the public and private sectors. She was a frequent speaker at professional conferences, and co-founder of an advocacy group that worked to maintain and improve services for Medicaid beneficiaries, including elderly and disabled individuals. “What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” That’s the motto printed on the tee shirt given to all participants in… read more

Unique Issues Face By Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Survivors of Domestic Violence

November 8, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
This month's contributor,  Nicolyn Plummer is a senior social worker and coordinator of outreach and advocacy of the Deaf Services Initiative, in conjunction with Secret Garden and Freedom House to enhance accessibility in serving Deaf victims. Sexual assault victims who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing face unique issues compared to those who are hearing when it comes to reporting the assault. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reports that approximately one in five hearing women have been raped in their lifetime… read more

Insights From Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden Program

November 8, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Since 1990, Barrier Free Living’s community-based Secret Garden program has been working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities providing counseling, support groups, occupational therapy and case management services. During October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, the team is busy with outreach, events and presentations. They also offer domestic violence related trainings year-round (view a short film about the trainings here). We touched based with the team, to take a closer look at what makes this dynamic program so unique and valuable. What… read more

Spread The Sparkle Fund Raiser Benefits Barrier Free Living Domestic Violence Programs

November 6, 2018 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
Spread the Sparkle hosted an event this November, raising funds to produce an annual holiday party for the families at Barrier Free Living's domestic violence programs. Below is a message from the Spread the Sparkle team, and information on how to volunteer to support this incredible annual event. Spread the Sparkle Writes:  To all of our talented practitioners, dedicated donors, interested and inspired ticket buyers… read more

Barrier Free Living Team Attends Undoing Racism Workshop

November 6, 2018 Advocacy 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living team members turned out for the monthly Undoing Racism workshop this November held in New York City, led by MPG Consulting. BFL continues its commitment to “Undoing Racism” and continues to hold regular two-day intensive workshops for all new agency staff led by  MPG Consulting.  “BFL has embarked on a deliberate process of introspection to promote racial equity in its delivery system. This is an example of transformative intent… read more

A Fair Shake For Youth At Freedom House Domestic Violence Shelter

November 6, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
A Fair Shake for Youth, a New York City based organization that helps kids build social and emotional skills through a hands-on therapy dog program, held workshops at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House Domestic Violence shelter this October. Freedom House offers crisis shelter to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities, and their families. (Watch a virtual tour of Freedom House here.) Fair Shake works with therapy dog teams… read more

Yueqin Li Named Barrier Free Living’s Chief Fiscal Officer

October 30, 2018 Our Stories 0 Comments
Joining Barrier Free Living in 2004 as an accounting intern, Yueqin Li has risen through the ranks to become the agency's Chief Fiscal Officer by keeping a steady eye on both the mission and the bottom line. "I realized early on that my job (in accounting) is very important because the services we provide can really change people's lives," says Yueqin. For nearly 40 years Barrier Free Living has been working with people with… read more

Advocate Spotlight: Vangie Leon

October 23, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
After over a decade at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter for people with disabilities,  Family Associate/Board of Education liaison Vangie Leon is still driven by the spirit of love and compassion that she discovered when she started the job. We caught up with Vangie to talk about the work she does with children, the challenges she faces and the lessons she continues to learn. BFL: Tell us how you first became familiar… read more

Insights From Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden Team

October 23, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Since 1990, Barrier Free Living's community-based Secret Garden program has been working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities providing counseling, support groups, occupational therapy and case management services. During October's Domestic Violence Awareness month, the team is busy with outreach, events and presentations. They also offer domestic violence related trainings year-round (view a short film about the trainings here). We touched based with the team, to take a… read more