Structure & Goal Setting Tips During Challenging Times

March 23, 2020 Current Events 0 Comments
Anne Markowitz, L.C.S.W., is a consultant for Barrier Free Living providing workshops around the topic of anger. She shares a few tips about maintaining balance during this challenging period.  I hope everyone is well and taking care of yourselves and each other. We are living in extraordinary times, and have to act extraordinarily. With this in mind, I wanted to share a few ideas about getting through this experience, whether we are staying in… read more

Exhale To Inhale Free Yoga

March 20, 2020 Current Events 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living is working with our Occupational Therapy Team to develop online video resources, from yoga to guided meditation, which will be available on our website soon. Barrier Free Living is a collaborator with Exhale to Inhale which is offering remote Yoga! Starting on Monday, March 23rd they will offer one daily practice streamed two times per day over the course of six weeks. This free practice will air at 7:15am and… read more

Barrier Free Living: Committed To Health & Safety

March 19, 2020 Uncategorized 0 Comments
A message from Barrier Free Living CEO/Founder Paul Feuerstein As the global effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, Barrier Free Living is firmly committed to the health and safety of our staff and the people we serve. We are closely monitoring the changing situation, working with our partners in domestic violence field to comply with public health guidance and meet the requirements of our funding sources. All of our… read more

Barrier Free Living: 40 Years & Growing

March 19, 2020 Breaking Barriers in DV 0 Comments
Chief Program Officer Cynthia Amodeo shares her thoughts on where we have been, and where we are going. As we move into 2020, our team is both grateful and inspired by the fact that Barrier Free Living (BFL) is approaching our 40th year (2021) working with people with disabilities. Under the guidance of our CEO/Founder Paul Feuerstein, BFL began as a small NYC store front with a big… read more

Staying Safe During Uncertain Times: A Message For Survivors Of Domestic Violence

March 19, 2020 Breaking Barriers in DV, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Contributor Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the Assistant Program Director of Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden domestic violence program. She is the host of Sit Down With Sara.  The rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 is increasing stress and anxiety for all of us. Unfortunately, for people who are experiencing domestic violence (and have a disability), this crisis can be especially dangerous. Shelters will remain open during this time, including Barrier Free Living's… read more

Staff Spotlight: Robert McKinzie Team Member Since 2000

March 11, 2020 Our Stories 0 Comments
After two decades as a dedicated member of the Barrier Free Living team, Robert McKinzie opens up about what led him to the agency and what keeps him here.  BFL: When did you first join BFL? Robert: I joined Barrier Free Living in 2000 as a volunteer at the facility on the lower east side ( 270). A few months after that opportunity ended, I was offered a part time position. I was very… read more

Vagina Monologue Performance Benefits Barrier Free Living

March 3, 2020 Current Events 0 Comments
Deaf Women of New York City will present Eve Ensler's iconic play The Vagina Monologues at the Wow Black Box Theater Thursday March 5 at 8PM. The show will benefit Barrier Free Living, and begins with a cocktail hour at 6:30PM… read more

Staff Spotlight: Vanessa Salazar Celebrates 19 Years At BFL

February 26, 2020 Our Stories 0 Comments
Vanessa Salazar first joined Barrier Free Living as a volunteer in 2001, working at the agency's former Transitional Housing program on the Lower East Side. Over the years, she has matured as a woman and a team member, giving birth to her first child in 2006 and shifting from administrative work to becoming a Housing Case Manager at Freedom House in 2016. We spoke with Vanessa about her journey at… read more

Strong Nonprofits for a Better New York

February 21, 2020 Advocacy 0 Comments
Nonprofit coalitions from across New York stand together in an historic coalition to call on the State to invest in a 3% increase on contracts and rates for the next 5 years for the survival of the sector. Human service nonprofits provide vital services, including after-school programs, supportive housing, homeless services, job training, substance abuse disorder/addiction and mental health services to millions of New Yorkers annually. Human services funding at the State… read more

Donated Coats & Scarves Bring Warmth To Barrier Free Living Programs

February 3, 2020 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
Donated coats and scarves warmed the hearts of residents and tenants at our programs for survivors of domestic violence with disabilities this past week. New York Cares Coat Drive delivered 200 coats to adults and kids, and the Bryant Park Corp. donated just as many hand-knitted scarves to the people we serve. Learn how to make a difference and… read more

Barrier Free Living Staff Spotlight: Simone Allen, Occupational Therapy Manager

January 21, 2020 Our Stories 0 Comments
Simone Allen joined the Barrier Free Living team as the new Occupational Therapy (OT) manager this January, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a healthy dose of curiosity. Simone took over the role when OT manager Patricia Motus headed to the West Coast in December 2019, after 15 years of service. (Read Patricia's profile story.) BFL: What led you to apply to Barrier Free Living? Simone: My old… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House: Domestic Violence Survivor Spotlight

January 14, 2020 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
"Working with Angela has given me a much greater awareness of the needs of a very under-served population.  Regardless of the roadblocks, she remains positive and optimistic, refusing to settle for anything less than her dreams." Larry Wilson (pictured above) MHC-LP, Social Worker, Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter. Barrier Free Living's team works with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities at our three programs through the year. Angela, a resident… read more

Staff Spotlight: Patricia Motus

December 11, 2019 Our Stories 0 Comments
Patricia at the 2010 Barrier Free Living Staff Appreciation Awards Patricia Motus, who joined the Barrier Free Living (BFL) team as director of the Occupational Therapy (OT) program in 2004, will be heading to the West Coast this month. Barrier Free Living has been working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities for nearly 40 years, and has always considered the Occupational Therapy team’s work a great contribution to the mission. Motus began her career… read more

BFL Volunteer Spotlight: Sophie Horrocks

December 9, 2019 Our Stories 0 Comments
    After 40 years of working with survivors of domestic violence, the volunteer support for Barrier Free Living's programs is stronger than ever. Case in point: Sophie Horrocks, a student in Global Innovation Design who discovered our agency and wanted to use her skills to support our mission.  She signed on… read more

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