Letter from our COO
Celebrating Black History Month
Dear friends,

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, dedicated to honoring the invaluable contributions of Black and African American individuals to our historical fabric. It is also a time to reflect on the pervasive impact of racism and structural inequality, and how present-day inequities continue to damage and threaten Black communities across our Country. 

Acacia Network and our affiliates are proud to have a workforce and leadership whose composition is 90% people of color, with nearly 50% of our workforce comprised of Black and African American employees. The communities we serve –primarily in underserved neighborhoods across The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Upstate New York– are largely African American and Black Caribbean, and have suffered for decades as a result to chronic disinvestment and systematic racism. 

Throughout our 50+ year history, Acacia Network and our affiliates have been committed to improving the quality-of-life and wellbeing of underserved communities of color through our robust array of integrated, trauma-informed, culturally responsive services. We also recognize that we need to go further to address the continued impact of racism and violence against Black and African American communities.

Among other initiatives, last year we created our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council, tasked with pioneering our DEI Strategic Plan, which builds the foundation for an even more diverse and inclusive organization and elevates our work through the lens of a comprehensive DEI framework. We look forward to sharing updates with you soon regarding the work of our DEI Council. 

As we kick off Black History Month, we are reminded that we still have a long way to go in our pursuit of equity and justice. At Acacia Network, we pledge to continue advancing these principles across all aspects of our work, and to continue deepening our social justice work through a trauma-informed lens to continue addressing the needs of our Black and African American colleagues, partners, and clients.

Please read on for important updates on our work, our 2020 impact, our services and resources, upcoming events, and more.

With gratitude,
Lymaris Albors
Executive Vice President &
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
P.D. We invite you to check out our new website for more info on all of the great things happening at Acacia!
Summary of COVID-19 Outcomes
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color, who have suffered higher rates of infection and mortality, and it has exacerbated the many challenges these communities already face on a daily basis as a result of poverty, structural inequality, and systemic racism.

Throughout this time, we have continued to provide uninterrupted access to critical services and resources to ensure that those most at risk are able to overcome mental health and addiction disorders, chronic health conditions, poverty, housing insecurity and homelessness, food inequality, economic hardship and unemployment, educational barriers, cultural alienation, among other challenges.

Our in-house clinical expertise, coupled with our decades of programmatic experience in crisis management, have ensured the best possible outcomes for thousands of clients across our programs, even the most vulnerable.

In 2020, Acacia Network and our affiliates served:

  • 12,000+ unique patients of all ages through our health centers, in addition to 100+ adults living with HIV/AIDS at our residential skilled nursing facility;

  • 11,000+ unique clients through our Behavioral Care Programs, including Outpatient Mental Health, Outpatient Substance Use Services, Detox & Rehab, and Residential Care;

  • 3,550+ participants through our Youth Development & Family Engagement initiatives, and 300+ kids ages 3-5 through our Daycare & Preschool Programs;

  • 2,500 mature adults ages 60 and older through six (6) Senior Centers, with 900 participants consistently attending daily workshops and activities;

  • Over 200,000 meals & groceries distributed through our food pantries & soup kitchens in NYC, and over 23,000 in Upstate New York;

  • 4,200 households served through our Affordable and Supportive Housing Developments, and over 15,000 social service encounters rendered;

  • Over 7,000 individuals throughout 57 shelters for single adults and for families with children across four boroughs in New York City;

  • 6,000+ individuals through our workforce development & benefits access programs, and 100+ community-based partners engaged;

  • Approximately 2,000 individuals of all ages engaged through our in-house and virtual arts and culture programming;

  • 15,000+ individuals reached through our initiatives in Puerto Rico, and we've provided 4,000+ meals, 1,000+ emergency supplies, 100+ units of housing, more.

To ensure continued access to care, we rolled out integrated Telehealth Services, providing video appointments to clients of all ages in need of primary and behavioral care, including residents of our homeless shelters, and we provided virtual wellness and informational workshops to our clients and frontline workers to support their continued wellbeing.

Opioid Response
The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact in diverse communities across the United States, including New York City, as addiction to opioids and overdose-related deaths have continued to increase exponentially. Despite this alarming reality, seeking treatment for chemical dependency and/or substance use continues to be stigmatized, and for many, it is nearly impossible to find an adequate treatment program that fits their needs.

Aware of these complexities, Acacia Network has been actively involved in City and State-wide efforts to curb the opioid epidemic.

Our integrated efforts range from street and mobile outreach through our Bronx Opioid Collective Impact Project and our Mobile Van units, to our Primary Care and Behavioral Health facilities, including our Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Outpatient & Inpatient Mental Health Clinics, Residential Treatment Centers, and Detox/Rehab. Among other services, our health centers and clinics offer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to address and treat substance use & addiction disorders through medications such as Buprenorphine-naloxone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, and Methadone, among others. 

In addition, we connect patients to a robust array of supportive services, including Health Home; HIV, Hepatitis C, PrEp and PEP Services; Nutrition; referrals to Affordable, Supportive, and Transitional Housing, and more.

Wellness & Education Series
Join Us at Our Upcoming Events
Acacia Network, in partnership with our affiliate, the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly (IPRHE), invites you to participate in our Virtual Wellness Series, which features diverse workshops and events in areas such as primary and mental health, physical fitness, relaxation, mindfulness, music and dance, among others. This month, in honor of Black History Month, we will also host a special event on Friday, February 19 at 11:00AM.

We hope you'll join us during one or more of the events listed below:

For more information on our Wellness Series, please contact Angel Santini at asantini@acacianetwork.org or 917-634-6963.
Affordable Housing for Vulnerable Communities
As a reminder, applications are being accepted until February 8, 2021 for Acacia Network's new, mixed-use affordable housing development, Metcalf Avenue Apartments, co-developed by Phipps Houses. 

Located at 1230 Metcalf Avenue in the Soundview section (CB #9) of the Bronx, Metcalf Avenue Apartments features 223 units –from studios to three-bedroom apartments– for low- and moderate-income households earning between 30% and 110% of Area Median Income. The building is designed and constructed to meet the “Passive House” energy efficiency standard, one of the highest standards of green buildings. In addition to affordable housing, the development includes 13,449 gross square feet (GSF) of retail space and 4,799 GSF of community facility space on the ground floor, among other amenities.

This building is being constructed through the Mix and Match Program of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program of HPD.

Interested applicants may visit the Housing Connect website or apply by mail on or before February 8, 2021. To request an application by mail, send a postcard or letter to: METCALF AVENUE APARTMENTS, Box 257, 353 Third Avenue, NEW YORK, NY 10010. To apply online, visit: nyc.gov/housingconnect
More Info on our Affordable Housing Projects
Acacia Network’s vision of healthy communities is deeply connected to high-quality, affordable housing. Presently, our housing portfolio consists of 3,316 units of affordable housing for low or moderate-income individuals and families, 728 units of supportive housing serving individuals with medical and/or behavioral health chronic conditions, and 130 units of permanent housing for formerly homeless families & individuals.

Some of the projects currently in progress include:

  • La Plaza de Virginia - Buffalo, NY: On December 31, 2020, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB) and Acacia Network closed on financing for La Plaza de Virginia, a $17.1 million 46-unit mixed-use affordable housing development in Buffalo, serving low-income seniors ages 55 & older. With construction expected to be completed by the Fall of 2022, this innovative project will become an important community asset and add at least $25 million to HUB's portfolio. 
  • Palmetto Gardens, Bushwick II and Hope Gardens – Brooklyn, NYC: Rehabilitation, modernization and upgrading of 1,321 units as part of the NextGeneration NYCHA plan. The Acacia-Pennrose team is utilizing programs such as the Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) program and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) to safeguard long-term housing assistance, improve and modernize the buildings, and stabilize developments by placing them on a more secure and solid financial footing, while providing much-needed social and community services to the residents.
  • Sendero Verde – East Harlem, NYC: A mixed-use affordable housing development in partnership with Jonathan Rose Companies and L+M Development Partners, featuring 708 affordable units, as well as community, education, and social services, and community gardens.
  • Palacio Dorado – Toa Alta, PR: An affordable housing complex developed by Acacia Network in Puerto Rico for seniors ages 62 and older; we recently applied for funding through the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) to make improvements such as solar panels, air conditioning in community rooms, and more. In September 2020, this project was awarded an ENERGY STAR Score of 100.
  • Resilient Prototype Home - Caguas, PR: A project that aims to provide long-term sustainable, green, and resilient housing for low-moderate income families, while creating a scalable model for implementation across the island and in other disaster and non-disaster areas.

COVID-19 Vaccines & Testing
Learn More About Acacia Network's Vaccination Efforts
Acacia Network operates Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other primary care locations across New York City and throughout the State. We are pleased to announce that our FQHCs have been among the first in the City to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines, and we hope to continue expanding our efforts. We are currently administering vaccines to eligible individuals per the City’s guidelines, including high risk frontline workers, those who provide direct in-person services within clinical and/or congregate care settings, seniors ages 65 and older, and more.

However, due to high demand and a COVID-19 vaccine shortage across New York State, we are currently at capacity and do not have availability for new appointments. Please know that we are working with our City and State partners to ensure additional vaccine supplies to meet the needs of our communities. We encourage you to check our COVID-19 page often for updates BY CLICKING HERE!

We're also excited to announce that our vaccination efforts have been featured in various media outlets:

COVID-19 Testing in the Bronx and Brooklyn
In an effort to ensure widespread testing in our communities, Acacia Network continues to offer COVID-19 testing to our clients, staff, and the community at large.

We are currently conducting COVID-19 nasal swab tests and COVID-19 antibody blood tests at our Ramon Velez Health Center, located at 754 E 151st St, The Bronx, NY 10455 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1:00-4:00PM, by appointment. Same-day appointments are available!

We accept most insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare. We also offer sliding scale and/or free testing for uninsured patients. For more information or to make an appointment at Ramon Velez, please call: (347)352-2484 or (718)734-2539.

We are also conducting free COVID-19 testing every Wednesday at 120 Menahan Street in Brooklyn. For more information, call (718)734-2539.
Additional Health & Community Resources
Acacia Network, Promesa Inc, and Seedco have launched a program to serve homeless veterans, incarcerated veterans, female veterans, and veterans with families in need of employment or career services.

Among other services, we assess and meet veteran job-training needs, connect veterans to employment opportunities in an in-demand industry, and address supportive service needs of veterans, including housing.

For information & referrals, please contact Charles Staten, Program Director, at cstaten@promesa.org or 646-499-1230.
Available Beds in our Residential Programs
Become an Acacia Ally
Become an Acacia Ally and help us continue to save lives through an integrated, culturally-competent, trauma-informed lens!

How can you become an ally?

Your support will enable us to continue providing critical services to those who need them most. For more information about Acacia Network and how you can support our work, contact us today!
For over 50 years, Acacia Network and its affiliates have been committed to improving the quality-of-life and wellbeing of underserved Latino communities by providing access to integrated health and housing programs, and by reinvesting in communities through innovative programming, employment opportunities and affordable housing ownership, among other initiatives. Acacia Network’s offices are located in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, and Syracuse in New York State, as well as Florida, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico. Acacia Network’s extensive array of community-based services are fully integrated, bilingual and culturally competent, while ensuring easy access and actively incorporating consumer and community level input. For more information, visit: www.acacianetwork.org