Celebrating 45 Years of Outstanding Human Service in CNY

Unity House is observing its 45th anniversary in 2022. The agency got its start in 1972 when it began offering housing services to emotionally disabled veterans. The agency leased space in the historic Case mansion on South Street in Auburn from First Presbyterian Church. Twenty-one beds were made available to this population, and a community need was met.

Five years later, it became clear that this need was growing and Unity House decided to expand to meet it. The agency hired its first executive director and on March 28, 1977, Unity House’s articles of incorporation were filed, making it official. In April, the agency obtained not-for-profit status, and the following year, the program was certified as a community residence by the state Department of Mental Hygiene.

While Unity House concentrated on mental health services early on, the agency now also serves people with developmental disabilities (PWDD) and those with substance use disorders. We began offering employment services in 1988, and housing, day habilitation, and case management for the PWDD population in the early 1990s. Unity House received state funding in 1995 to open Cayuga County’s only halfway house for individuals in recovery from addiction. To date, Grace House has supported more than 2,000 people.

In 1997, Unity House was named by the state as the successor agency for HOMES, Inc. in Ithaca, NY. This introduced the agency to Tompkins County. Today, we operate a dozen group homes (IRAs), a day habilitation center, Without Walls day services, seven respite beds, and a large number of independent apartments scattered across the Ithaca area. Even though our headquarters are located in Auburn, the number of staff and people we support has surpassed those in Cayuga County.

Now in our 45th year, Unity House serves more than 1,000 individuals a day in seven central New York counties. We employ about 450 staff, and administer a $25 million budget. Funding is primarily from New York State.

At the root of this success are of course the people – the wonderful people Unity House serves, partners with and employs. Over the course of four and a half decades, the agency has empowered and enriched the lives of so many, and we look forward to doing so for another 45 years.

Unity House is so grateful for the acceptance and care it receives from the many communities and people it serves. We invite our friends to help us celebrate our 45th throughout 2022. Thank you for supporting our mission.