Lantern Community Services’ Prospero Hall, a supportive housing property for homeless veterans, marked Memorial Day with a barbeque for around 50 clients and staff today. Veterans living in the building on 118th Street, which only opened a year ago, luckily escaped unharmed from last week’s Metro-North fire directly opposite.
Lantern houses 93 veterans in supportive housing across New York City, and many travelled from other buildings to Harlem to mark Memorial Day with their fellow veterans. After a classic barbecue lunch, Anthony Williams, Chair of the Manhattan Veterans Advocacy Council, addressed event attendees. Chief Program Officer Leslie Abbey and Senior Vice-President Amy Berg gave out Certificates of Appreciation to veterans, with much cheering and applause from clients and staff.
Luis Crespo, 63, and Henry Arce, 58, are veterans who moved into Lantern’s supportive housing five years ago. Luis volunteered for service in Vietnam at just 16 years old, despite his mother’s protests, and served in the 82nd Airborne Division for five years until 1976. Henry was recruited to the Army from his native Puerto Rico in 1982, and served in the 227 Brigade. Both Luis and Henry were homeless for several years before finding permanent housing at Lantern.
Henry Arce said of today’s event, “This is a blessing. I’ve never really celebrated Memorial Day before, because after the Army I lost it a bit. But since coming to Lantern I’ve been able to meet people and have social workers, and now I come to events like this.”
“No veteran should be homeless in this city, and we are proud that so many veterans have made Lantern their home. We are also grateful to benefit from the wonderful skills of Lantern Community Services staff who are veterans. This Memorial Day, we thank them all for their service.”
Laura Lazarus, Lantern Community Services’ Executive Director, said, “No veteran should be homeless in this city, and we are proud that so many veterans have made Lantern their home. We are also grateful to benefit from the wonderful skills of Lantern Community Services staff who are veterans. This Memorial Day, we thank them all for their service.”
Lantern Community Services provides innovative services to help New Yorker’s who are formerly homeless or have recently aged out of foster care recreate their lives. Our programs with proven results in health, employment, education and life skills are delivered inside our residences and tailored to each person’s needs. Services are provided to over 2,000 residents of 14 supportive housing sites developed by our affiliate, the Lantern Organization, which provides permanent affordable housing in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. Prospero Hall opened in May 2015 and provides 87 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans and low-income single adults residing in East Harlem.