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Our Stories

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

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

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

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

Survivor Spotlight: Olivia At Freedom House

October 17, 2018 Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Last summer, after a domestic violence incident, Oliva was feeling emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually unsafe. She needed to find a way up and out for herself and her children. “The (domestic violence) incident that took place on June 5th turned everything upside down for me,” says Olivia. “I needed to get away from this abusive relationship with my children’s father. (Barrier Free Living’s) Freedom House (domestic violence shelter) has been the catalyst… read more

Survivors Art Workshop Part of Barrier Free Living Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 9, 2018 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
During October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, residents and participants at our domestic violence programs will be sharing their work, created during art expression workshops at Freedom House and Secret Garden. We will be posting the art through the month to celebrate their strength and courage. At top art by EA. Below, first image, art by EA, second and last image art by CA, "building blocks of love" from CC… read more

Advocate Spotlight: Irma Williams

October 9, 2018 Advocacy, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
When Irma Williams joined the Barrier Free Living apartments (BFLA) social work team this past year, she brought a skill set she’d developed over a decade. Originally from Guatemala, Irma grew up in lower Manhattan and started out as a peer program assistant at Boom Health (formerly citywide harm reduction.) During her time at Boom, she earned a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College and was promoted to the social work… read more

Angela’s Journey: Working With The OT Team At Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden DV Program

August 14, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Angela began counseling at Barrier Free Living's Secret Garden community-based domestic violence program in 2014, and soon after began exploring the rich opportunities offered through the agency’s Occupational Therapy (OT) department. “Through the help of the occupational therapy team I gained courage and became more open to change,” says Angela, who has a visual impairment. “They provided a safe zone for me to be around people who have the best interest for my… read more

Give One: Volunteers At Barrier Free Living Apartments

June 27, 2018 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
The newly launched Give One organization worked with the tenant’s Garden Club at BFL Apartments this April to spruce up the 6th floor roof. The volunteers and the tenants cleaned the roof, planted seeds and flowers and set up the area for spring. "Watching the tenants work side by side with the volunteers was an amazing experience and a powerful example of community building," says Scott Hess, Director of Communications who… read more

Freedom House Spotlight: From Domestic Violence Shelter Resident To Team Volunteer

June 27, 2018 Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Shelter, Uncategorized 0 Comments
When Bethelihem and her family arrived at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter in 2014, the only thing on her mind was safety.  Not long into her stay, she discovered the power of helping others as part of her own healing journey.  Today, as a senior at  Hunter College of City University of New York (CUNY) pursuing a Sociology degree, Bethelihem decided that she wanted to give… read more

Staff Spotlight: Rachel Oliner, Coordinator Of Family Services Freedom House

June 8, 2018 Our Stories 0 Comments
Drawn to Barrier Free Living's mission to support people with disabilities, Rachel Oliner shares with us her initial goals as  the new Coordinator of Family Services at Freedom House domestic violence shelter. BFL: What drew you to apply at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House? Rachel: I have always wanted to work with survivors of violence, particularly with women and children. I also felt that the staff was close-knit and respectful of each other, and… read more

The End Of An Era: Barrier Free Living’s Transitional Housing Closes

May 1, 2018 Our Stories 3 Comments
After 28 years of operation, Barrier Free Living’s Transitional Housing program closed its doors on April 30, 2018. Barrier Free Living Founder, President/CEO Paul Feuerstein reflects on this ground-breaking program’s successes and challenges working with people with disabilities in New York City. The First Of Its Kind The ribbon cutting ceremony for Barrier Free Living’s Transitional Housing program. Paul Feuerstein, fourth from left . Our Transitional Housing Program opened in November of… read more

BFL Apartments’ Tenant Pursues Her Beauty School Dream

April 10, 2018 Our Stories 0 Comments
BFL Apartments' tenant Niasia signed on for the Assurant Financial Empowerment Scholarship program last year with a clear goal in mind: attend beauty school. Niasia, who completed the BFL Apartments' 8-week workshop and was awarded a financial scholarship, began classes at American Beauty School in the Bronx this month (photo above). Niasia is one of 8 workshop graduates who secured scholarships to pursue a career or educational goal… read more

BFL Apartments Young Tenant Pursues Bball Dream

March 13, 2018 Our Stories 0 Comments
A young tenant of Barrier Free Living Apartments received a scholarship grant to attend the Scout Focus Elite 80 basketball camp this March. BFL Apartments offers permanent homes with support services to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities and their families. ScoutsFocus is dedicated to identifying and providing a platform for underexposed players across the United States. Justin was awarded the funds, part of an Assurant sustainable living financial empowerment… read more

Project Give Back At Transitional Housing Shelter For People With Disabilities

January 25, 2018 Current Events, Disability News, Our Stories Tags: 0 Comments
Artist, Thomas Dreamer, a former resident at Barrier Free Living's Transitional Housing shelter for people with disabilities, shares how why he "Gave Back" by painting a dynamic mural at the shelter. The shelter works with formerly homeless people with disabilities to find permanent homes and thrive in their communities.… read more

BFL Apartments Team Member Shares His Journey

January 17, 2018 BFL News, Our Stories 0 Comments
Darique Ruiz joined the BFL Apartments team in 2015. When he's not working as a resident aide, Darique mentors kids in high school at a church downtown, and also has a keen interest in learning as many languages as he can. We caught up with Darique to talk about his journey with the agency, and his future goals.… read more

BFL Halloween Events

November 1, 2017 BFL News, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Shelter 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living held Halloween themed events at its programs, drawing families, kids and staff in community building activities. At BFL Apartments, the tenant advisory group worked with the occupational therapy team to create a lively party space and spook house for dozens of kids living at the permanent housing complex in the Bronx. BFL works with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities, and their families as well as homeless individuals with disabilities.… read more

Go Pink Day At BFL’s Freedom House Shelter

October 25, 2017 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories Tags: 0 Comments
The front desk staff of Barrier Free Living's  Freedom House program hosted its second annual Go Pink Day on Friday October 20. Resident Aide Manager Linette Holmes shares that "This is the second year Freedom House is remembering all those that are survivors of Breast Cancer and those that have lost the fight." Freedom House staff wore pink to commemorate this special cause and a GO PINK TABLE was the focal point of the celebration… read more

Staff Spotlight: Dwayne Jordan

October 25, 2017 BFL News, Our Stories Tags: 0 Comments
As the new nurse on staff at Barrier Free Living Apartments, Dwayne Jordan brings expertise, a keen focus on wellness, and even some experience as a power lifter to the supportive housing complex. BFL: What drew you to apply to Barrier Free Living? Dwayne: I grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Brownsville) during the 90s. I first-hand saw and experienced what many residents of BFL have gone through. I made… read more

BFL Team Member Felipe Sepulveda Honored With Lifesaver Award

October 10, 2017 Current Events, Our Stories Tags: 0 Comments
Felipe Sepulveda, Director of Social Services at Barrier Free Living's (BFL) Transitional Housing program, was among those honored at the first ever Lifesaver Awards Ceremony in New York City on October 5. The awards, held by the Department of Health, honored 67 people who saved a collective 255 lives with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.  First Lady Chirlane McCray and Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett attended the ceremony. Felipe, who trained earlier in the year on… read more

Barrier Free Living Begins Work On Updated Mission Film

October 3, 2017 BFL News, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Shelter 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living (BFL) has begun work on an updated version of its mission film, depicting the agency's growth and evolution since the original film debuted in 2012. The film, created in collaboration with DGNL , is a visual representation of the agency' s mission, vision and values. The new version will focus on the stories of the people that the agency works with in its programs, shelters… read more

Staff Profile: Linette Holmes, Freedom House

September 14, 2017 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories Tags: 0 Comments
As the mother of a child with autism, Linette Holmes was drawn to the passionate mission of Barrier Free Living. She joined the Freedom House team as a per diem Resident Aide, then soon after became a Resident Aide manager. We caught up with Linette to chat about her journey at BFL, what she brings to the management team, and her goal to learn to surf. BFL: What first drew you to work at Barrier… read more

Barrier Free Living Communication Intern Shares Summer Highlights

September 5, 2017 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
 Liam Chan Hodges, a government major at Franklin and Marshall college, took on the role of summer intern in BFL’s Communication Department this year. Before heading back to campus he shared with us some highlights.  BFL: What was one particular highlight of your internship? Liam: Successfully creating an eye-catching and decently well visited Instagram page (check it out at  instagram ) that authentically portrayed the incredible work that BFL does. BFL: What is something that… read more

Ping Pong Champ Teaches Kids At BFL Apartments

August 18, 2017 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Shelter 0 Comments
Alexis Perez, a famed ping pong champ, is teaching the kids at BFL Apartments the art of the game. Perez has been meeting with the kids at the supportive housing complex in the Bronx three times a week since June. “The children have not missed a day of lessons and have been able to develop their own style of playing ping pong,” says Julie Pena, director at BFL Apartments. The kids received sports… read more

Community Building BBQ Summer Kick Off At BFL Apartments

June 15, 2017 Current Events, Our Stories 0 Comments
Tenants and staff gathered to celebrate the start of summer with a community building BBQ at BFL apartments in the Bronx. Staff worked the grill (social worker Sam Finan pictured above) and tenants from the single and family building enjoyed the meal and mingling. The complex has apartments for survivors of domestic violence with disabilities (including 91 kids) as well as veterans with disabilities.… read more

Playwright David Drake Brings Theatre Camp For Kids To BFL Apartments

June 8, 2017 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Shelter Tags: 2 Comments
This profile is by Liam Chan Hodges, a summer intern in BFL’s Communication Department. His writing has appeared in Study Breaks and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a government major at Franklin and Marshall college and will graduate in 2019. David Drake is a man of many talents. He has gained success as a playwright, a stage director, an actor and an author. His most acclaimed piece The… read more

Staff Spotlight: Tamar’s Story

May 25, 2017 BFL News, Our Stories 0 Comments
This Staff Spotlight is by Liam Chan Hodges, a summer intern in BFL’s Communication Department. His writing has appeared in Study Breaks and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a government major at Franklin and Marshall college and will graduate in 2019. Here at Barrier Free Living we have been blessed with a team of talented individuals who are passionate about the work we do. We decided to sit down with one of our… read more