The history of Samaritan Daytop Village is a story of innovation and leadership. The agency has evolved from humble beginnings into one of the largest health and human services providers in New York State, thanks to a professional staff that is committed to the agency's mission and the clients they serve.
Read about our 60+ years of helping New Yorkers improve the quality of their lives through our treatment of substance use and mental health disorders, transitional and supportive housing, and specialized services for veterans, seniors and families.
Click on a decade below to learn more about our accomplishments from that era.
1960s: Formation in Queens
- Father Damian Pitcaithly opens the Astoria Consultation Center in an Episcopalian church located in Queens. The center introduces drug and alcohol counseling services to adolescents.
- Astoria Consultation Center changes its name to the Samaritan Halfway Society.
- The small agency expands its reach and is soon recognized as one of New York City's first drug and alcohol treatment and counseling centers.
- Samaritan Halfway Society receives its first government grant for treatment services from the New York City Drug Abuse Agency.
- Samaritan Halfway Society opens its first residential program to treat addiction in Richmond Hill. The 12-bed facility is certified by the New York State Drug Abuse Agency.
1970s: Pioneering Substance Use Treatment
- Samaritan Halfway Society holds its first graduation ceremony.
- The agency opens a new residential facility in Sullivan County. The program is certified by the New York State Drug Abuse Agency as a residential treatment program for addiction.
- Father Pitcaithly publishes his groundbreaking book: "From Dope to Hope: The Story of Father Pit and the Samaritan Halfway Society."
- Founder and President Father Pitcaithly retires. He is succeeded by Deputy Administrator and COO Richard Pruss as the new President & CEO.
- Samaritan Halfway Society launches the country's first methadone-to-abstinence residential treatment program in Queens.
- The agency changes its name to Samaritan Village and moves its administrative headquarters to Forest Hills.
- The agency begins acquiring sites for residential treatment in Ellenville, Manhattan and the Bronx, and forges working relationships with New York State and municipal departments of the City of New York.
- Samaritan Village introduces primary health care services alongside treatment to address clients' Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
- Samaritan Village begins offering vocational, educational and financial services to residents in treatment.
- Samaritan Village acquires a facility in Ellenville, Ulster County.
- The agency acquires the Van Wyck building, its second residential facility in Queens.
- Samaritan Foundation is incorporated to oversee program development and fundraising.
1980s: Pioneering Veteran-Focused Treatment
Samaritan Village pioneers a new therapeutic model for military veterans in treatment by addressing substance use disorder, PTSD and other life challenges simultaneously.
- The Samaritan-Kiwanis "Hotline" launches from the agency's Richmond Hill location. The 24-hour volunteer telephone service provides referrals for drug and alcohol treatment.
- The agency acquires The Highbridge, a renovated convent in the Bronx, and converts it into a 150-bed residential treatment program.
- Five of the agency's first staff members earn national credentials from the Therapeutic Communities of America.
- Samaritan Village's administrative offices move to Rego Park.
- For the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC) program, New York State begins referring addicted offenders with prior non-felony convictions for treatment at Samaritan Village.
1990s: Addressing Alternatives to Incarceration and Homelessness
- Samaritan Village launches its "On the Right Track" program at Grand Central Station. Relying heavily on outreach, the program identifies and offers treatment to homeless substance users.
- Samaritan Village partners with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office to create the Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) program. As an alternative to incarceration, the program offers treatment services to addicted defendants in the criminal justice system.
- Samaritan Village moves its administrative offices to its current location in Briarwood.
- The agency establishes the nation's first nursing home for clients who are diagnosed with both substance use disorder and HIV/AIDS - in conjunction with PSI (Project Samaritan, Inc.) and HELP for the Homeless.
- The agency operates a Parole Relapse Prevention Program in partnership with the New York State Division of Parole.
- The Forbell Men's Shelter opens its doors. The program offers homeless men, referred by the City, both temporary shelter and treatment for substance use disorder.
- Samaritan Village opens the State's first licensed residential treatment facility for veterans - 43rd Street Veterans Program. Located in midtown Manhattan, the program receives national attention and becomes a model for the agency's veteran-specific services.
- Samaritan Village establishes Project Samaritan Health Services (known today as Damian Family Care Centers) to bring primary care clinical services to its residential treatment programs.
- The agency collaborates with HELP USA to provide social services to the 200 city shelter residents on Ward Island.
- In Jamaica, Queens, the agency opens its first comprehensive outpatient facility - today known as Jamaica Outpatient Treatment Program.
- Samaritan Village assumes operations of the Woodside Senior Center in Queens, adding a senior center to its portfolio of services.
2000s: Capital Investment and New Veterans Services
The 2000s see major capital investments in Samaritan Village's facilities.
- Samaritan Village opens Project COPE, a collaboration with the Federated Employment and Guidance Service, to address the needs of unemployed individuals who have diagnosed mental health and addictive disorders.
- The agency begins working with the City of New York's Department of Correction to provide Discharge Planning Services on Rikers Island.
- Construction begins a Methadone-to-Abstinence Residential Program (now called the Medically Assisted Treatment and Recovery Center) with a vocational training center and fully equipped health care unit in Richmond Hill, Queens.
- Designs are completed for the renovation and expansion of the agency's Ellenville campus in upstate New York.
- In Queens, Samaritan Village opens the Ed Thompson Veterans Program, the agency's second treatment center for addicted veterans, to meet the demand of newly returned veterans from the Middle East.
- After securing state funding, Samaritan Village begins construction of the Women Veterans Program in Ellenville, New York State's first residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women veterans.
- After four decades with the agency, Mr. Pruss steps down as President & CEO of Samaritan Village. He continues to serve as President Emeritus and Chair of the Samaritan Village Board of Directors.
- Mr. Pruss is succeeded by Tino Hernandez who was at the time the longest serving Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.
2010-15: Responding to the Needs of Homeless New Yorkers
2010 sees the start of a major expansion of Samaritan Village's services portfolio, driven by New York City's call for quality shelter services.
- Samaritan Village opens Gloria's House and Bridge Haven, the agency's first transitional housing facilities for homeless families, as well as a shelter in Brooklyn for single women.
- Samaritan Village receives its first grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to administer the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, which works to combat homelessness for at-risk veterans and their families.
- The agency receives a $2 million, five-year federal grant to offer HIV screening and prevention at its Jamaica Outpatient Program.
- After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the City asks Samaritan Village to provide emergency shelter to displaced residents.
- The City asks the agency to operate the newly created Family Relocation Assistance Program to help over 300 households return to their pre-Hurricane-Sandy lives. Samaritan Village also secures permanent housing and other housing alternatives for the families.
- Samaritan Village begins Narcan training for staff and clients at the Richmond Hill Medically Assisted Treatment Program, thanks to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Program. Training later extends to all of the agency's residential treatment facilities.
- A second men's shelter - 53rd Street Men's Shelter - opens in an existing Samaritan Village space in Manhattan.
- Samaritan Village opens the Myrtle Avenue Men's Shelter, its first homeless shelter for individuals with mental health issues, in Bedford Stuyvesant.
- The agency merges with Veritas Therapeutic Community, Inc. and assumes operations of the Harlem Outpatient and Young Mothers Programs in Manhattan.
- The agency reopens a closed Veritas site in Manhattan and names it Veritas House Community Residence, a new model for clients transitioning into the community after treatment.
- In November, the agency partners with Damian Family Care Centers at the NYC Department of Corrections' Vernon C. Bain Center to provide behavioral health services for detainees.
- In partnership with the Westchester County Department of Social Services, Samaritan Village begins providing assessment and referral services to at-risk families in White Plains, Mount Vernon, Peekskill and Yonkers (as of 2014).
- Samaritan Village begins direct administration of the Cape Road residential treatment facility in Ellenville. The 100-bed co-ed facility was previously operated by the former Renaissance Project, Inc.
- Samaritan Village enters discussions to merge with Daytop Village, an iconic substance use services provider based in New York with international outreach services. An agreement is signed in December, delineating plans to formally merge the two agencies.
- SAMHSA awards $1.1 million to Samaritan Village and its grant partner Housing + Solutions to launch the HEROES (Housing, Employment and Recovery Opportunities for Empowering Self-Sufficiency) Program. By 2017, the agency helps 82 chronically homeless female veterans find permanent housing and, if needed, receive substance use treatment.
- In a successful pilot program, the agency embeds Recovery Coaches (peers with shared "lived experience") at Ed Thompson Veterans Program to help clients transition into a life of recovery after treatment.
- With a Robin Hood Foundation grant, the agency's Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program brings onboard Veteran Navigators to assist clients with the search for housing.
- Samaritan Village becomes the permanent operator of the Cape Road Residential Treatment Program.
- With funding from the New York State Office of Court Administration and SAMHSA, the agency offers a 90-day treatment program for nonviolent offenders in the new Brooklyn Treatment Court program.
- Samaritan Village receives a $1.75 million State grant to provide clients completing treatment or leaving shelter/transitional housing programs with apartments. The grant fuels the agency's expansion of its permanent supportive housing portfolio.
- Samaritan Village opens the newly converted Clermont Men's Shelter in Brooklyn.
- In October, Samaritan Village and Daytop Village officially merge to become Samaritan Daytop Village.
2016 - 2019: Enhancing Treatment through Integrative Services
Samaritan Daytop Village integrates mental health services into its treatment ad launches a new Division to support and reinforce individuals' success with recovery.
- Samaritan Daytop Village launches a new Recovery Services division to support the recovery phase of clients who have received treatment for substance use disorder.
- A Recovery Coach training program is implemented throughout the agency's facilities.
- In March, Samaritan Daytop Village opens the 198th Street Veterans Residence, its first permanent affordable housing for homeless or at-risk male veterans.
- The agency's outpatient treatment programs receive State approval to deliver both substance use disorder and mental health services at its outpatient sites under a single integrated license.
- Helping to meet the City's needs to house homeless families, Samaritan Daytop Village opens Rachel's House, a family transitional residence in Brooklyn with the capacity to house 132 homeless families.
- Samaritan Daytop Village opens its first PARC (Peer Alliance Recovery Center) in Queens. Funded by OASAS, PARC is a community-based recovery center where individuals from the community - in all stages of recovery - can socialize, learn and grow.
- With a three-year grant from the New York City Department of Correction, Samaritan Daytop Village begins implementing SMART (Specialized Model for Adult Re-Entry & Training) at Rikers Island to reduce recidivism among detainees and recently released inmates.
- A five-year $1.06M grant from the State Office of Mental Health helps the agency implement an ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) mental health services team at three Brooklyn community shelters including Myrtle Avenue Men's Shelter.
- In June, the agency cuts the ribbon on a $7.5 million renovation at the Ed Thompson Veterans Program. The project was funded by OASAS.
- In May, Tino Hernandez announces plans to step down after having served 10 years as President & CEO of Samaritan Daytop Village. Stepping into his shoes is Mitchell Netburn who previously led Project Renewal for eight years.
- In July, the legendary Richard Pruss, former President & CEO and Board Chair, passes away. Mr. Pruss spent more than five decades of his life in service to the agency.
- Our outpatient treatment programs receive OASAS and OMH approvals to offer Telehealth services to clients.
- The agency launches the five-year MOMS Project to expand its capabilities at the Young Mothers Program, thanks to a federal SAMHSA grant and private donations.
- As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide on Homelessness” plan, Samaritan Daytop Village is selected by the NYC Department of Homeless Services and Housing Preservation & Development to acquire and convert shelters into permanent affordable housing for formerly homeless and low-income families. In April, the agency assumes management of two buildings with 122 residential units in the Bronx. The agency starts planning the purchase and renovation of the sites into permanent affordable housing under its long-term ownership.
- Suffolk Outpatient Treatment Program receives a $4 million Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grant from SAMHSA to expand the facility and hire more staff.
- The Rockland and Suffolk County Outpatient Treatment Programs begin offering Telehealth services, giving clients immediate access to medical and mental health professionals through videoconferencing technology.
- PARC Bronx opens its doors in the Bronx. PARC Bronx is funded in part by the federal State Opioid Response Grant, administered by OASAS.
- In June, Samaritan Daytop Village and Healthfirst announce a partnership to offer START (Substance Use Therapy and Recovery Treatment) to Healthfirst members with substance use treatment at Jamaica Outpatient Treatment Program.
- In the fall, NYC Hospitals + Health names Samaritan Daytop Village as one of four substance use treatment and mental health service providers in the Pathway Home program.
- The agency partners with Manatus Development Group to break ground on construction of The Richard Pruss Wellness Center – a “one-stop shop” for integrated behavioral and primary health care in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Occupancy is expected in 2021.
2020 - Beyond: Battling An Epidemic During a Pandemic
As the nation begins to gain ground in the war against the opioid epidemic, the world comes face to face with the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers of overdoses deaths and the homeless surge during the global health crisis. In response, Samaritan Daytop Village further expands its treatment and prevention of substance use and mental health disorders and transitional housing portfolio.
- Samaritan Daytop Village celebrates its 60th anniversary.
- The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation awards the agency a $250K grant to help reduce New York’s health disparities. The Recovery Services department begins building a team of peer specialists who will connect 800 Queens and Bronx residents to healthcare services.
- In March, President Emeritus Tino Hernandez passes away. At the time, Mr. Hernandez was Senior Advisor to the Executive team at Samaritan Daytop Village.
- The agency is selected to convert another shelter portfolio from the NYC Department of Homeless Services and Housing and Preservation Department. Samaritan Daytop Village assumes management of nine buildings housing 124 formerly homeless and low-income families in Harlem. In February, the agency starts planning the purchase and renovation of the buildings, which will remain permanently affordable under Samaritan Daytop Village’s long-term ownership.
- In September, the agency opens a new purpose-built Transitional Housing site in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. The site is a 165-bed Men’s Employment Shelter funded by the Department of Homeless Services. The agency prepares for occupancy in October.
- Further increasing its portfolio of family transitional residences, Samaritan Daytop Village agrees with the Department of Homeless Services to take over operations of a 161-unit family transitional residence in Queens and 300 units across four hotels in the Elmhurst, Woodside, Flushing and Long Island City.
- Samaritan Daytop Village launches plans to open a 144-bed shelter for single men in the Bronx by the end of the year.
2021: Fighting An Epidemic During A Pandemic
- NYS SAMHSA awards two "CCBHC Expansion" grants totaling $7 million to Samaritan Daytop Village's Suffolk and Staten Island Outpatient Treatment Programs.
- The Staten Island Outpatient Treatment Program is designated a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), increasing the agency's total of CCBHCs to four across three counties: Independence Outpatient Treatment Program, New Beginings Community Counseling Center, Staten Island, and Suffolk Outpatient Treatment Program.
- In the August 19th edition, Newsweek magazine ranks Samaritan Daytop Village #7 in its list of "Best Addiction Treatment Centers" in the state of New York.
Today at Samaritan Daytop Village
Over the course of six decades, Samaritan Daytop Village has adapted and grown – in its mission and reputation – into one of the state’s largest and most respected health and human service providers. Today, Samaritan Daytop Village annually serves over 33,000 New Yorkers in need with more than 60+ locations throughout 10 counties including New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley.
With its dedicated and compassionate staff of professionals, Samaritan Daytop Village remains the place “Where Good Lives®.”