New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Brooklyn Community Foundation today delivered $2.2 million in grants to 10 community-based organizations to fund substance treatment programs and harm reduction services. The Wellness and Recovery Fund of the Brooklyn Community Foundation was established last year after Attorney General James dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E. for exploiting some of New York’s most vulnerable residents and defrauding Medicaid.
These grants will provide $217,500 over three years to each of the 10 beneficiary nonprofits for dignity-centered direct services designed to prevent and treat substance misuse and abuse; expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services; and systems change efforts that impact the lives of people in recovery and people living with addiction.
The 10 organizations that will be receiving grants are: After Hours Project, Ali Forney Center, Brooklyn Community Housing and Services, Community Counseling & Mediation, Global Trauma Research, Housing Plus, Lantern Community Services, New York Therapeutic Communities – Stay’n Out, The Family Center, and VOCAL-NY.
“I am proud to work with the Brooklyn Community Foundation to return these funds to vulnerable communities,” said Attorney General James. “It is essential for New Yorkers who have struggled through addiction and substance abuse to have access to reliable treatment programs, and with these funds, we are doing just that. The funds will finally be used in the manner in which they were intended — to help New Yorkers who need it most. From holding accountable the companies responsible for the opioid crisis and delivering billions of dollars for treatment, to cracking down on nonprofits that try to cheat New Yorkers, I will always use the power of this office to foster the recovery of our communities.”
“Drawing upon their own experiences with substance abuse and misuse, our advisory council members have partnered with us to select an outstanding group of grantees that are helping people navigate the difficult road of treatment and recovery while honoring their agency and dignity,” said Jocelynne Rainey, CEO and president, Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We are grateful for Attorney General James’ leadership in reclaiming these funds for the benefit of Brooklyn’s communities, her belief in our community-led grantmaking approach, and her commitment to helping New Yorkers overcome the devastating and far-reaching impacts of addiction.”
The funding comes at a critical moment for in-demand community-based programs, as drug overdose deaths have soared to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. From January to March 2021, there were 596 confirmed overdose deaths in New York City, with the second largest number occurring in Brooklyn.
The grants were selected by 10 Brooklyn residents impacted by substance misuse or who have worked with impacted communities. This participatory grantmaking funding approach is a part of the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s commitment to sharing decision-making power with community members who have lived experience on the issues being addressed. Last year, the Brooklyn Community Foundation adopted participatory grantmaking models across all its unrestricted grantmaking programs in alignment with focus on racial justice and community-led change. The grants prioritize communities that have been disproportionately impacted by substance abuse and addiction, including Black, indigenous, and people of color; women, parents/caregivers, youth, older adults; immigrants; low-income individuals and families; people who are unhoused and housing insecure; people who are formerly or currently incarcerated; people who are LGBTQIAGNC+; people with disabilities and or mental health challenges; and people living in the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Coney Island, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, and Sunset Park.
“This grant will allow After Hours Project to enhance our evidence-based substance abuse treatment and supportive services, which includes buprenorphine treatment, syringe access, overdose prevention, harm reduction counseling and education,” said Fernando Soto, CEO and president, After Hours Project, Inc. “We plan to use the funds to purchase an electric mobile unit to help lower our carbon footprint and hire a peer-driven outreach team to expand our services in areas with the highest needs, such as Bed-Stuy, Sunset Park, and Williamsburg.”
“During the grant process, I looked for organizations that have grassroots connections to their communities and are committed to listening, respecting the people they serve, and treating the whole person,” said Victoria Graves, member, Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Wellness and Recovery Fund Advisory Council. “I am pleased to say that the grants are going to groups that will truly expand critical services, like harm reduction, for those who need it most.”
Wellness and Recovery Fund Grantees:
After Hours Project: To support an array of health and social services, including behavioral health education; sexual health and wellness; HIV/AIDs linkage to care; harm reduction; housing, food, and family wellness; community outreach; advocacy and referral services, and more. Clients primarily have little or no contact with traditional service providers, and that include persons who inject drugs, sex workers, and people who are homeless. Neighborhoods served: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, East Flatbush, East New York, East Williamsburg, and Flatbush.
Ali Forney Center: To support services provided to 2,000+ LGBTQIA+ youth at a 24/7 drop-in center and 17 emergency and transitional housing sites, as well as to hire a substance misuse treatment counselor to work at 14 housing sites, including 9 in Brooklyn. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide, Park Slope, and Sunset Park.
Brooklyn Community Housing and Services: To support housing for 1,000+ people who experience homelessness annually, including transitional and permanent housing, as well as substance misuse counselors and skilled clinicians for all new housing developments. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide.
Community Counseling & Mediation: To support a wide range of social services, counseling, physical and mental healthcare, education, and supportive housing services for individuals and families in extremely low-income areas of Brooklyn. Services include treatment, early intervention, wrap-around services, and recovery support services for people living with substance misuse disorders and/or co-occurring mental health disorders. Neighborhoods served: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brownsville, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, Downtown Brooklyn, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Park South, and Red Hook.
Global Trauma Research: To support the “Stay Well” program, which provides 24-hour crisis intervention/hospital prevention and culturally/spiritually specific long-term trauma counseling to participants with a history of substance misuse, as well as a multilingual substance misuse and abuse community education campaign with 300 community partners. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide.
Housing Plus: To support justice-involved women in an alternative-to-detention program that provides community-based housing and comprehensive services to help them overcome poverty, homelessness, effects of incarceration, and build stable lives. The program also seeks to reunite and reconnect parents and caregivers with children in foster care, and to prevent separation in as many families as possible. Neighborhoods served: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, Crown Heights, East New York, Flatbush, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
Lantern Community Services: To provide comprehensive harm reduction services to improve the overall quality of life for clients, including at two supportive housing sites in Brooklyn that serve formerly unhoused residents living with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and/or diagnosed mental health conditions. Staff also provide Naloxone training kits and overdose prevention education to residents. Neighborhoods served: Bedford Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
New York Therapeutic Communities – Stay’n Out: To support substance misuse treatment for adults in the criminal legal system through licensed community-based residential and outpatient programs that use a therapeutic community model, as well as to add more peer recovery advocates to connect persons using substances with needed services. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide.
The Family Center: To support programs that provide comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and family-focused behavioral health treatment and recovery services for adults, children, and families with significant levels of trauma, chronic disease, extreme poverty, and barriers to care, as well as free childcare for parents and caregivers who are living with addiction, substance use challenges, and recovery while they are receiving treatment and health services. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide.
VOCAL-NY: To support the growth of outreach and testing programs for people who use drugs, increased operating hours for syringe services programs, expansion of service delivery teams by transitioning part-time peer outreach workers and Hepatitis C care coordinators to full-time salaried positions, and hiring additional peer outreach workers. Neighborhoods served: Boroughwide.
This is the latest action in Attorney General James’ efforts to fight the substance abuse epidemic. In March 2019, Attorney General James filed the nation’s most extensive lawsuit to hold accountable the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic. The manufacturers named in the complaint included Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, as well as members of the Sackler family (owners of Purdue) and the trusts they control; Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates (including its parent company Johnson & Johnson); Mallinckrodt LLC and its affiliates; Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates; and Allergan Finance, LLC and its affiliates. The distributors named in the complaint were McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.
In December 2021, an agreement with Allergan was reached that will deliver up to $200 million to New York state and Nassau and Suffolk counties for opioid abatement, as well as make enforceable a bar that stops Allergan and all of its subsidiaries, predecessors, and successors from selling opioids in New York and acknowledge Allergan’s prior exit from the opioid business.
Also, in September 2021, the bankruptcy court in Purdue confirmed a $4.5 billion plan — at least $200 million of which will be earmarked for New York — from the Sackler family and foundations that they control, will end the Sacklers’ ability to manufacture opioids ever again, and will shut down Purdue Pharma. The court’s ruling against Purdue and the Sacklers has since been challenged by dissenting states and is currently in mediation.
The deals with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen have a global value of approximately $26 billion.
The cases against Mallinckrodt and Rochester Drug Cooperative are now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Pursuant to the new law establishing the opioid settlement fund, all funds collected by the state from opioid settlements or litigation victories will be allocated specifically for abatement efforts in communities devastated by the opioid epidemic and will not go towards the state’s general fund.
Separately, but related to her work on opioids, in February 2021, Attorney General James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in the nation in delivering more than $573 million — more than $32 million of which was earmarked for New York state — towards opioid treatment and abatement in an agreement and consent judgment with McKinsey & Company.
In December 2020, a jury found Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates liable for violating New Yorkers’ rights and responsible for the public nuisance charges made by New York state in its opioid trial in Suffolk County State Supreme Court. A subsequent trial will now be held to determine how much Teva and others will be required to pay, which will be added to the up to $1.5 billion Attorney General James has already secured for the state of New York from different opioid manufacturers and distributors.
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