Message from the CEO

Dear friends,

Happy autumn tidings! I hope the fall season has brought peace and joy into your homes, in addition to slightly cooler weather. At Acacia Network, the past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind, and only now are we able to finally take a few steps back to reflect and take inventory of the incredible moments –big and small– that have taken place across the network and our communities. 

On a federal level, Acacia Network has been part of the national conversation regarding immigration affairs, as one of the go-to agencies to partner with the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to serve the incoming wave of migrants arriving in the NYC after being bussed in from other states. We are proud to have been one of the first organizations to say “PRESENTE” to fellow immigrants in need of shelter, food, and medical care, among other critical needs. In addition to providing transitional housing to hundreds of migrant families throughout our sites across the City, we have connected them with primary care and behavioral health services through our primary care arm, La Casa de Salud. Check out this interview with our Population Health Director, Dr. Jessica Sessions, who discusses what we've seen in the frontlines.

We are also proud to continue expanding access to integrated behavioral health care for underserved communities through the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) model, which Acacia was one of the first to implement in NYC. In addition to our existing CCBHCs in the Bronx and Washington Heights, we are happy to announce that we were awarded two additional CCBHC expansion grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to enhance services in Brooklyn and Albany through our affiliate Promesa, Inc. Plus, we are thrilled to announce that, as a direct result of our collaboration, mentoring, and advocacy efforts in Puerto Rico, we helped one of our local partners receive a CCBHC grant.

Our New York-Puerto Rico partnership continues to be strengthened through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce (PRMHW) Program, which awarded a $3 million grant to our primary care arm, La Casa de Salud, to provide support to healthcare organizations and establish or enhance evidence-based programs to promote resilience, mental health, and wellness among healthcare workers in the Bronx and Puerto Rico. Since the onset of this program, nearly 4,000 staff have been impacted across all sites in both the Bronx and across Puerto Rico. Over 160 staff have received therapeutic services, and over 1,000 staff have received burnout assessments.

And speaking of Puerto Rico, words cannot express how truly impactful the past week has been. Not only was Acacia Network able to spearhead meaningful community-driven efforts during the SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference, thus earning us the “Unsung Heroes” Award, but we were able to arrange an impromptu visit from New York City Mayor Eric Adams to our affordable housing development for low-income seniors in Toa Alta, Palacio Dorado. I am incredibly grateful to Mayor Adams for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with us to learn about our local efforts, see our mission in action, and speak with some of the individuals whose lives have been transformed thanks to our work. I was also honored to receive an award during the Noviembre, Mes de la Herencia Puertorriqueña ceremony celebrated at the Centro de Convenciones de la Asociación de Miembros de la Policía de Puerto Rico.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our staff in the Alba de Vida clinic in Buffalo, whose quick thinking and immediate action prevented a potential tragedy last week. We are deeply thankful to the City of Buffalo, Mayor Brown, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, our local partners, and the community at large for their support throughout this incident.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and its Counterterrorism Bureau for partnering with us to provide a virtual active shooter training to more than 800 staff across our network.

These are just a few of the reasons for which I’m thankful as we enter the Season of Giving Thanks. Every single day, I’m reminded of why we do this work and why it’s so important that we keep pushing forward. 

Please read on for important news and updates about our work across key programmatic areas, none of which would be possible without the dedication and tenacity of our executive team, program leadership, and staff. Special thanks to our board of directors, our partners, and donors for their ongoing support. Thank YOU for helping us save lives. 


Lymaris Albors


P.S. As we kick off the Giving Season, we ask that you consider supporting our work by becoming an Acacia Ally today. Any amount, big or small, makes a big impact in the lives of those we serve. Pledge your year-end gift today!


Puerto Rico Initiatives

Acacia Network continues to strengthen our footprint in Puerto Rico through continued partnerships on the ground to support community-driven efforts and enhance the quality of life for vulnerable communities around the island. Since 2012, Acacia has partnered with local stakeholders to drive strategic initiatives that address housing insecurity, health disparities, and food insecurity, among other critical needs. 

In addition to being the sole developer of an Energy Star-certified affordable housing development for seniors in Toa Alta, Palacio Dorado, which was leased up in 2018, Acacia Network pioneered a model for resilient housing through the development of two prototype homes in Caguas, which were completed in 2022. In addition, during the past two years, we have reached thousands of individuals in vulnerable communities around the island through initiatives such as the delivery of 17,000+ food boxes to low-income families, distribution of emergency supplies, COVID-19 vaccination efforts, coordination of 20+ FERIARTE health fairs, and much more.

All of these efforts seemed to come full circle last week, when Acacia Network leaders and board members traveled to Puerto Rico to accomplish a few key goals, including:

  • Cutting the ceremonial ribbon on Acacia Network’s beautiful new Puerto Rico offices, which will serve as the headquarters for our local operations;

  • Celebrating the completion of the two prototype resilient houses in Caguas with the Acacia Network Board of Directors;

  • Supporting SOMOS Puerto Rico by working with Assembly Member Maritza Dávila and Conference leadership to ensure a meaningful contribution to local community-based groups through the SOMOS “Day of Service”, through which we coordinated the assembly and distribution of thousands of bags with groceries and essential items.

We are grateful to the SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference for presenting us with the Unsung Heroes Award, in recognition of our efforts in Puerto Rico and New York.

We are also deeply thankful to New York City Mayor Eric Adams for spending time with us during the SOMOS Day of Service, personally packing grocery bags and delivering them to one of our community-based partners, and then accompanying our CEO Lymaris Albors on a tour of our Palacio Dorado senior housing development.

Homeless Services

Partnering with the City to Serve Migrants

The Molina family came to New York City from Venezuela in the Summer of 2022. Genova (age 32), her husband Alexander (age 31), and their 8-year-old son Johannier have been residing in a “families-with-children” transitional housing site operated by Acacia Network in partnership with the NYC Department of Social Services (DSS) and the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Like many of the newly arrived immigrants who hail from Latin America, the Molina family completed a perilous journey to cross the United States’ border into Texas, and were then transported to NYC, where they entered the shelter system as they await permanent placement. Acacia Network Housing (ANH) has been one of the City’s go-to agencies in the wide-ranging efforts to serve the thousands of immigrants newly arrived in the City. 

Since arriving in NYC, the Molina family has faced multiple challenges, including the language barrier. In addition to providing shelter, housing assistance, and case management, Acacia Network has worked to connect the family with additional resources, services and supports to address these challenges and ease their transition to life in the U.S. 

Among other initiatives, Acacia Network launched a Language and Cultural Enrichment Program at eight (8) shelters serving migrants and asylum seekers, with funding and support from Trinity Church Wall Street. Through this program, Acacia Network partners with our arts & culture affiliate, The Loisaida Inc. Cultural Center, to provide language enrichment and cultural engagement through the provision of English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses for adults and Arts Workshops for children. At their assigned shelter, the Molina family began participating in the Arts Workshops, and look forward to participating in the ESL component as well. They say this experience has helped them to find a creative outlet, while making new friends and engaging with the community.

“We feel happy to participate in this class because it provides a time for relaxation where we can express ourselves through the art of drawing. We thank the artist for his patience [throughout this process].”

Acacia Network is proud to maintain 20+ years of experience in the provision of transitional housing to families with children, single adults, and adult families under the umbrella of our transitional housing division within Acacia Network Housing (ANH). We are presently one of the largest providers of transitional housing and homeless services contracted by the City, and have been a steady and solid partner throughout the recent wave of migrants arriving in New York City in need of shelter and services.

Just last month, we proudly stood on the steps of City Hall with the Office of the Mayor, City agencies and leaders, and fellow nonprofit providers to celebrate our continued commitment to supporting the migrants who have arrived in NYC. We thank Mayor Eric Adams, DSS Commissioner Gary Jenkins, the NYC Department of Homeless Services, and our agency partners for their leadership and support. 

Behavioral Health & Addiction Services

[Image Source: National Council for Mental Wellbeing]

CCBHC Expansion

As a leading provider of integrated behavioral health services across New York State, Acacia Network is proud to continue expanding access to integrated care for underserved communities through the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) model, through which we provide: 

  • Integrated, evidence-based, culturally competent services
  • 24/7 crisis response
  • Increased access to diverse services and medications
  • Medication-assisted treatment (M.A.T.)
  • Specialized services for specific populations, such as children and veterans
  • Immediate screening and risk assessment to determine the mental health, addiction, and basic primary care needs of the individuals who seek care in order to coordinate integrated access to care
  • Extended hours, more clinicians and case managers

New York State (NYS) was one of the first eight states selected to implement a CCBHC demonstration program and Acacia Network was one of the first five providers in New York City to operate a CCBHC. In addition to the CCBHCs at our Westchester Avenue Family Health Care Center in the Bronx and the Audubon Clinic at the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP) in Washington Heights, we are happy to announce that we were recently awarded two additional CCBHC expansion grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to enhance services at Carlos Pagán Recovery Center in Brooklyn and at Camino Nuevo in Albany. The increased access to integrated, one-stop care helps to reduce emergency room visits and psychiatric hospitalizations, leading to better patient outcomes, streamlined services, and lower costs, as well as improved population health for people who might require additional, specialized services

We are also thrilled to have contributed to an important milestone in Puerto Rico. Since 2017, the CCBHC model has expanded at the national level, but had not yet reached Puerto Rico. We are proud to announce that, as a result of our partnership and advocacy efforts, we helped one local organization secure CCBHC grant funding.

As one of our partners proudly exclaimed: “¡Puerto Rico está chinita en el mapa!” [“Puerto Rico turned orange on the map!”]. This quote was in reference to the National Council map above, which illustrates in orange every state and territory where CCBHC programs have been established.

Primary Care

Ongoing COVID-19 Education Efforts

With CDC funding from the UnidosUS Esperanza Hope for All Program, Acacia Network has continued to tackle COVID-19 misinformation through our creative public service announcements (PSA) series, titled Journey to Immunity. 

We recently launched a new hilarious webisode, which throws us back to the 1990s, when infomercials were all the rage. Check it out!

Our “Journey to Immunity” vaccine outreach campaign, developed in partnership with the Loisaida Inc. Media & Technology Center, features a series of multilingual PSAs that spread awareness about COVID-19 and influenza, and promote vaccine uptake in these hard-to-reach communities, while dispelling myths and misconceptions among those experiencing high rates of hesitancy. For more info on our campaign, CLICK HERE!

Health Homes

Acacia Health Home programs improve care coordination and service integration that are essential to improving health and wellness. Health Homes offer free, comprehensive care coordination and care management services for Medicaid patients with complex combinations of chronic conditions and behavioral health disorders, providing enrolled members with a dedicated care manager to help members navigate the medical, mental health, substance use and social services systems.

The goal of the program is to help patients better understand and manage all the care and services they need to become and stay healthy, leading to fewer emergency room trips and an increase in routine/preventative care, among other benefits. Acacia Health Homes serve 1,000 individuals, including children as young as three years old, adults, and the elderly.

Our Health Home staff recently celebrated a jump rope activity, geared toward engaging in self-care, team-building, and wellness. We prioritized staff feedback in which the team had expressed an interest in participating in activities like these, and chose “Jump Rope” as a way to allow the team to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunlight (as we approached daylight savings). The team really enjoyed getting together to jump, walk, swing, chat, and play Jazzminton during our lunch hour.

Youth & Community Development

Engaging with Families in our Communities

Our Education & Youth Development Division, operated by our affiliate, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP), provides integrated programming to thousands of K-12 students and families through our school-based and Cornerstone programs. Our services include afterschool enrichment activities, youth development programs, family support services, food and nutrition initiatives, family wellness & health education, counseling, and more.

Last month, ACDP hosted a “Keeping Green” activity at our Cornerstone Program at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Sedgwick Community Center. During the garden clean-up event, young participants of our program and their parents helped to prep the garden and protect it for winter, so it can be ready to regrow in the spring. Cornerstone youth programs, such as the one at the Sedgwick Community Center, are designed to provide engaging, high-quality youth services in partnership with NYCHA and a strong network of nonprofit providers across the City, such as ACDP.

Also worth noting, the ACDP Beacon Program at MS 117 celebrated its monthly food pantry on November 5th, during which they distributed meals and groceries to 200+ individuals and families. The Beacon Program at MS 117 has partnered with Food Bank for New York City since 2021 to serve as a monthly food distribution site in the Morris Heights community. Thanks to all who showed up to support these efforts, including a group of student volunteers from the Young Women's Leadership School of the Bronx!

Finally, on November 6th, participants of the Music Lab at ACDP’s IS254 After School Program were proud to support the New York City Marathon by drumming, DJ-ing, and playing to the sound of runners to cheer them on. What a way to uplift the spirits of marathoners!

Workforce & Economic Development

Helping Families Secure Affordable Coverage

Acacia's workforce development affiliate, Seedco, provides public benefits navigation, health insurance enrollment, employment services, and more to support the economic mobility and stability of vulnerable individuals and families across various states.

Our Seedco teams in Tennessee and Maryland are presently working hard to assist local consumers to navigate through their choices for health insurance coverage. Open enrollment is active this year from November 1st through December 31st for people interested in enrolling in plans for 2023.

Seedco’s Navigators are trained to provide expert assistance to help families and individuals to select a health plan that meets their family’s needs, taking into account their health and financial needs. Through the Affordable Care Act, families may be eligible for tax credits that greatly reduce their out-of-pocket costs for monthly premiums and doctor’s visits.

Arts & Culture

Loisaida, Inc.

Our Lower East Side arts & culture affiliate, Loisaida Inc, was recently featured on PIX 11 as part of a story on their ECOLIBRIUM project, which combines environmental literacy, education, and citizen science in order to improve environmental conditions in the Lower East Side. To get the scoop, CLICK HERE!

Founded in 1979, Loisaida offers year-round, accessible arts & culture programming that celebrates and honors the Puerto Rican and Latinx communities that have flourished in the Lower East Side and which have contributed to the rich fabric of our New York City neighborhoods. Through our multi-purpose space, The Loisaida Center, we provide visibility to emerging and established artists of diverse disciplines, promote a vibrant social and community life, and serve as an incubator for self-sustainable initiatives, entrepreneurial efforts, among other projects. 

Loisaida was one of the 32 community-based organizations in New York State that were selected the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to receive an Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant for to support projects that address environmental and public health concerns. Its Ecolibrium project received $100,000.

El Barrio's Operation Fightback (EBOF)

Our East Harlem-based affiliate, El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, has also been busy engaging community residents through arts & culture initiatives. Over the summer, EBOF completed an arts workshop series during July and August for the families at the neighboring Acacia Gardens development. As part of this workshop series, participants engaged in classes on watercolor art, crochet art design, creative writing, and abstract art.

In September, EBOF was proud to complete an arts project for a senior health care provider, ArchCare, as part of the opening of their new ArchCare Senior Life (PACE) at Draper Hall in East Harlem. EBOF and Acacia partnered to help identify an artist to paint a mural on an approximately 20’ foot wall space at the new space. We are proud to have been able to make a meaningful contribution to this new project!

Older Adults Services

Older Adults Conference a Success

On Thursday, September 22nd, Acacia Network and our affiliate, the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly (IPRHE), held our 2022 Older Adults Conference to celebrate the resiliency, strength, and tenacity of older adults in our communities who, despite the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued to push forward with hope and a renewed sense of energy.

With the theme Nueva Vida / A New Way of Life, the FREE event –which took place at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall– sought to provide daylong engagement and education opportunities for 400+ participants, opening with a plenary and general presentation, followed by workshops, lunch, cultural programming, and musical presentations.

We thank our partners and sponsors for making this possible: Healthfirst; MetroPlus Health; Hispanic Federation; Aetna; AARP; Ted Supply; Wellcare; UnitedHealthcare; VNS Health; Vargas and Rivera; Latino Commission on AIDS; NAHN; the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the NYC Police Department (NYPD); the NYC Department of Social Services (DSS), and the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA).

Upstate New York Affiliates

Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB), Buffalo

Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB) is proud to announce that residents of La Plaza de Virginia, its new 46-unit mixed-use affordable & supportive housing development for low-income seniors ages 55 and above, have started to move into the building.

All 46 one-bedroom apartments will serve households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), with 14 Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) units set aside for formerly homeless seniors at or below 30% AMI, who will receive supportive services to assist them in transitioning into congregate housing and achieving housing stability. La Plaza de Virginia features a communal courtyard, lounge, and laundry rooms on each floor, a community Senior Service Center, as well as on-site supportive services and property management.

Capital District LATINOS (CDL), Albany

Our Albany affiliate, Capital District LATINOS (CDL) continues to serve as a beacon of hope for underserved Latinos and other vulnerable groups in the Capital Region. In addition to their community-based education and health outreach efforts, CDL opened a first-of-its kind “Culturally Responsive Food Pantry”, a program that serves fresh and nutritious groceries to address food insecurity while responding to the ethnic dietary needs of our local communities.

If you or someone you know live in the Albany region and might be interested in working at our food pantry, CDL is looking for a part-time food pantry coordinator. For more info, please email:

Spanish Action League (La Liga), Syracuse

New York State Homes & Community Renewal recently recognized our Syracuse affiliate, the Spanish Action League (a.k.a. La Liga), during Hispanic Heritage Month. La Liga is a social services nonprofit that has been working since 1969 to bridge the cultural and experiential gap for Latinos and other underserved communities in Onondaga County.

We are proud of the work they do every day to ensure vulnerable individuals and families in the region have access to the services they need to succeed!

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Acacia Network and our affiliates provide integrated, culturally-competent, and trauma-informed services to more than 150,000 individuals of all ages every year. For more than 60 years, Acacia and our affiliates have provided uninterrupted access to critical resources to ensure that those most at risk are able to overcome the challenges of mental health and addiction disorders, chronic health conditions, poverty, housing insecurity and homelessness, food inequality, economic hardship and unemployment, educational barriers, and cultural alienation.

As we wrap of 2022, we hope you will consider becoming an Acacia Ally by making a tax-deductible donation today.

Your contribution will enable us to continue providing critical services and resources to those most in need. Will you become a champion for Acacia?

About Acacia Network

For over 50 years, Acacia Network and our affiliates have been committed to improving the quality-of-life and wellbeing of underserved communities in New York City and beyond. We are one of the leading human services organizations in the City and the largest Hispanic-led nonprofit in the State, providing integrated, culturally-competent, and trauma-informed programs in the areas of health, housing, social services, economic development, and cultural revitalization to more than 150,000 individuals annually. Our Network comprises 100+ affiliates and related entities, with over 2,700 employees across four boroughs in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, Dunkirk, Rochester, and Syracuse in New York State, as well as Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico.

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