26 Year Anniversary Milestones

Bethesda House, an interfaith ministry, is celebrating 25 years of serving our community’s homeless and most vulnerable members.  Bethesda House has been a safe haven, a house of mercy, assisting people emerging from hurting situations by providing for basic needs in an environment that allows, encourages and supports positive life changes.


March 22, 1992 Opened as an afternoon drop-in hospitality center at Friedens United Church of Christ on Franklin St., program of parent organization, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM)

1997   Expanded Staff

  • Host sight for Americorps

1998   Expanded Services:

  • Self-help Classes offered
  • Afternoon Hot Meal Program
  • Program Services: included morning hours
  • New location: 418 Liberty St.
  • Clothing Room opened
  • Shower and Laundry facilities offered


  • Became independent 501(c)(3) corporation
  • Intensive Case Management Project Eleos
  • Emergency Services for the Homeless:
    • Shelter assistance
    • Employment assistance
    • Transportation
    • Food
    • Clothing
  • Founding partner of the Community Crisis Network, a collaboration with the Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP), Catholic Charities, SICM and the Jewish community
  • Human Rights Commission Group Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the cause of Human Rights, dignity, justice and equality


  • Legal Aid Society Homeless Unit (LASH Unit) established at Bethesda House
  • Women’s weekly support group established


  • Case Management Project Bridge Builder
  • Expanded Hours: opened seven days a week; daily hot meal served


  • The Lighthouse Residence open: Housing First Model, 6 beds
  • The Volunteer Physician’s Project: to serve the medically uninsured

2004 – 2009

  • The Lighthouse expanded, to 10 beds, and moved to current location
  • Capital Campaign for new location


  • January, took occupancy of new building, State Street
    • Permanent Supportive Housing: 15 Apartments, 16 Beds for Chronically Homeless Single Adults, Housing First Model
  • Increased emergency services:
  • Client Choice Food Pantry
  • Phone and fax machine use
  • Enhanced laundry services
  • Crisis, Emergency, Housing, and Financial Case Management
  • Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program


  • Educational Programs:
    • Food Security
    • Rolling 8-week Nutrition Education and Cooking Class Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Financial Budgeting through Representative Payeeship Case Management Program
  • Annual Backpack Program
  • Community Service Program (court mandated): increased number of program participants
  • Comprehensive Annual Program Report
  • Development and Advancement:
    • Semi-Annual Newsletter
    • Annual Fall Event
    • Community Outreach

2012 -2013

  • Veterans Transitional Housing Program
  • Hunger Awareness Event
  • Literacy Program
  • Community Giving Back Program:
    • Assisting Flood Victims: Schoharie County, Fort Plain
    • Neighborhood Cleanup
    • Salvation Army: December Tradition: Bell Ringing
  • Housing Case Management: Rental Assistance Program
  • Development and Advancement
    • Bowl for Bethesda House – Annual Event

2014 - 2015

  • Social Work Department:
    • Provide mental health services: intake/assessment
    • Provide in-house counseling and community stabilization
    • Increased community Mental & Behavioral Health partnerships
    • Connect and refer to Mental Health providers
  • Enhanced Literacy Program: GE Elfun Donation of technological equipment
  • End Homeless Veterans Initiative: Lead Agency


  • Satellite PG Wright Food Pantry: In partnership with Schenectady County Public Health and Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority
  • Intensive Case Management Housing Program: In partnership with Schenectady County
  • CODE BLUE Emergency Shelter
  • Social Security Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Program
  • Men’s Support Group: In partnership with State Street Presbyterian Church
  • Enhanced Volunteer Opportunities
  • Veteran Mentoring Program
  • Social Work – MH Program Enhancement: In partnership with Ellis Mental Health
  • Schenectady City Community Needs Assessment Roundtable: Host
  • Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program: In partnership with Ellis Hospital
  • Primary Care / Behavioral Health Integration
  • Transportation


  • Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Program: In partnership with Schenectady County

Average daily attendance at Bethesda House in 1992 = 35
Average daily attendance at Bethesda House in 2002 = 175
Average daily attendance at Bethesda House in 2016 = 200


  • Community Outreach Case Manager Program
  • Overnight Emergency Shelter