Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden American Sign Language Film

December 3, 2019 BFL News, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden domestic violence program has filmed a video in American Sign Language to explain domestic violence and inform survivors with hearing loss how to seek assistance. Development of this video is an activity of BFL’s 2012 Office on Violence Against Women disability grant program award, which focuses on building capacity to serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing survivors… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Clothesline Project 2019

November 4, 2019 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living’s 2nd Annual Clothesline Project kicked off a rich roster of Domestic Violence Awareness month events, outreach and advocacy for our program teams (Freedom House, Secret Garden, BFL Apartments). View a short video from the Clothesline Project here.  The BFL Clothesline project* -- the brainchild of team member Irma Williams -- is our agency centerpiece, bringing together our supporters and the… read more

Emily’s Journey: Survivor Spotlight (Part 2)

October 15, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
This week, we feature part two of Barrier Free Living board member Emily’s inspiring story. After finding a safe space for healing at our Freedom House and Secret Garden programs, Emily began the next steps in her journey. Forgiveness & Healing The abuse that I survived was unbearable. I thought I’d never get out. Even after I began my true healing, I was still haunted by my abuser. I’d see him in my… read more

Emily: A Survivor’s Journey

October 10, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
The photo is from our Freedom House virtual tour film, and is representational only, per confidentiality. A survivor, a one-time resident of Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House and now a member of our Board of Directors, Emily shares her intense, inspiring journey, as part our domestic violence awareness month coverage. I grew up in an unhealthy environment. Never had “a good enough mother.” I was abused as a child in every form… read more

Victim To Victor: Author Interview

October 10, 2019 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Hoping to help break the cycle of violence and to provide a “voice for the voiceless” author Samantha Taylor shares her hopes and goals around her searing new book “Victim to Victor.”* When and why did you decide to write the book? ST: I decided to write Victim to Victor in 2017. I was encouraged to write a book after I explained the complications, mindsets, perspectives, misunderstandings, and parts of my experience as it… read more

Meditative Treatments For Domestic Violence Shelter Residents

October 8, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Research indicates a strong connection between mental and physical health for trauma survivors. This May, residents of Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter received free massages at the Reciprocity Foundation (view a virtual tour of Freedom House here). The organization provides free and low-cost wellness services to vulnerable New Yorkers. Reciprocity recently opened a new Wellspace in downtown Manhattan. Located in a nondescript office building, Reciprocity Wellspace features peaceful white… read more

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Supporter Spotlight: Spread The Sparkle!

October 8, 2019 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
It was five years ago that I first connected with Abbey Levine (at far left above).  We were dishing fashion and love at a Chelsea café when she revealed her new dream project: Spread the Sparkle. She wanted to redefine the concept of holiday celebration, for people that were searching for renewal and hope. She was looking for a non-profit to work with. A firm believer in kismet, I told Abbey about… read more

Substance Abuse & Domestic Violence

October 7, 2019 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 she worked with youth in alternatives to detention and incarceration programs… read more

BFL Deaf Services Team Member Featured In City Limits Article

September 25, 2019 BFL News, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living team member Nicolyn Plummer is feature in an article (see below) about a lack of Sign Language Interpreters in City Courts in this week's Citylimits. New York State’s Uniformed Court System (UCS) employs more than 300 staff interpreters in more than 20 languages, in addition to hundreds of additional freelance interpreters who work in the system each year. But just a handful of the court’s staff interpreters work in American Sign Language (ASL)—in fact, just seven… read more

Barrier Free Living’s 2nd Annual Clothesline Project October 11

September 13, 2019 Current Events 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living is holding it's 2nd annual Clothesline project community event on October 11 from 10AM-3PM at our supportive housing program in the Bronx. The event, held during domestic violence awareness month, spotlights the issue of violence against women men and children. For those who have been affected by violence, it is a means of expressing their emotions by decorating a t-shirt. The clothesline project will be held on the… read more

Deaf Hotline Launches Website Live Chat Feature

September 11, 2019 Advocacy, Disability News, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
THE NATIONAL DEAF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE launched a new logo (pictured) and announced new services on its website including a live chat feature making it "more accessible by offering various options for survivors, friends and family members" to reach them. The Deaf Hotline has advocates available for crisis intervention, education, information and referrals for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled Callers.… read more

Barrier Free Living Apartments Tenant Celebrates Son’s Success

August 6, 2019 Our Stories 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living Apartments joined tenant Miss Carol in celebrating her son DaShawn's recent success working with the New Heights Youth Organization. DaShawn, age 23, led the girl's basketball team he coaches to a 1st place tournament win this summer. The six foot trophy honors the 2019 69th Annual HRCC Summer Tournament 1st Place award (7th and 8th grade team). Barrier Free Living Apartments, located in the Bronx… read more

Diana Turner: A Fierce Sense of Community At Barrier Free Living Apartments

August 5, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1970s, Diana Turner (pictured above) most remembers the fierce sense of community. “I grew up across from Tompkins Square Park. Back then the neighborhood was called alphabet city,” says Diana, who joined the Barrier Free Living team this June (2019) as program director at our supportive housing program in the Bronx (BFL Apartments)*. “I saw the homeless problem. I also had a… read more

BFL Team Member Aeilushi Mistry Presents Aarti Hindu Lamp Ceremony

July 24, 2019 Current Events, Uncategorized 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living team member Aeilushi Mistry will be fostering community and encouraging harmony at a special event on August 3 at Brooklyn's Pebble Beach. Aeilushi is the Founder of the Hindu Lamp Ceremony,  which will be held on August 3 from 4-8pm at Pebble Beach in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The ceremony encourages participants to decorate their own palm leaf lamp and release it in the East River as part of the traditional… read more

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

July 22, 2019 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 home to BFL Apartments, hoping to pick up where she… read more

BFL Honors LGBTQ+ Pride Month

July 22, 2019 BFL News, Current Events 0 Comments
June is Pride Month nationwide, which is an opportunity for the world and for members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their identity and their relationships. Barrier Free Living is proud to provide services to members of the LGBTQ+ community. (view our BFLMinute honoring pride here.) Sexual orientation and gender identity are not barriers to accessing any of our programs, including our emergency domestic violence shelter … read more

Life Saving Moment: CPR In Action at BFL Apartments

July 1, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Uncategorized 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living apartment team members Irma Williams, Director of Social Services, and Jeffrey Hampton, Resident Aide Manager, put their recent CPR* training to the test in an emergency situation this summer, saving the life of a resident at the supportive housing program. After a tenant reported an unresponsive family member in their home, Irma and Jeffrey  rushed to the scene, called 911 then checked the person's breathing.  Jeffrey, who had… read more

Staff Spotlight: Marlow White

July 1, 2019 Our Stories, Uncategorized 0 Comments
When Marlow White joined the Resident Aide team at Barrier Free Living apartments a few years back, he didn't expect the job to change who he was as a person. But that's exactly what happened. Marlow, who since joining the agency has become active as a CPI Trainer and a member of the 2019 Communication Committee, says that the work he does at BFL has  "helped me to look at myself and… read more

Barrier Free Living Apartment’s Celebrates Father’s Day

June 18, 2019 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
The staff and tenants at Barrier Free Living apartments came together for a celebratory Father's Day celebration this month. The event included a BBQ, photo booth and a chance for community to gather and honor Fathers. BFL Apartments provides permanent homes with support services to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities and veterans with disabilities.… read more

Ali Stroker First Wheelchair User To Win A Tony Award

June 13, 2019 Current Events 0 Comments
Ali Stroker became the first person who uses a wheelchair to win a Tony Award at this year's ceremony in New York City. Her historical win was for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in the acclaimed Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!” There was one glitch.  No ramp had been built to connect the audience seating area to the main stage. In one instance, Ali had to wait in the wings on stage in case… read more

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, Breaking Barriers in DV, 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, Breaking Barriers in DV, 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