Media Contact: Alison Berg
NEW YORK – December 7, 2020 – The New York City Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) has named three staff members of Urban Resource Institute (URI) as 2020 Advocates of NYC. The honorees are Jennifer White-Reid, Senior Vice President of Domestic Violence Residential & Legal Programs; Danielle Emery, People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) Director; and Isabel Spoehr, Program Director of the Restoration Residence shelter. Jennifer, Danielle, Isabel, and esteemed peer advocates from across the city, were honored at a virtual ceremony for their tireless dedication to improving the lives of survivors of domestic violence.
“The range of seniority and programmatic focus of the honorees from URI demonstrates our depth of talent and impact that we channel directly into serving our clients,” said Nathaniel Fields, Chief Executive Officer of URI. “These three women represent seasoned senior expertise, leadership of innovative programs, and frontline shelter directors. Our excellence as an organization stems from our extraordinary team across all touch points. Congratulations to Jennifer, Danielle, and Isabel on this well-deserved recognition.”
Jennifer White-Reid, who heads the URI domestic violence programs, stated “it is an honor to be nominated as a 2020 Advocate of New York City, and I am grateful to be recognized among such passionate and impactful peers in the space. Intimate partner violence is a complex issue that we must continue to better understand and address. As advocates, we are only as successful as the empowered survivors whose strength and resilience inspire me every day.”
During Jennifer’s two-decade tenure as a member of the Senior Leadership Team overseeing domestic violence programs, URI has grown to become the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US, with the ability to serve 1,200 survivors each night. In the past year, Jennifer has spearheaded the opening of two new domestic violence shelters, providing safe shelter for an additional 132 NYC individuals and families experiencing domestic violence, and will be the sixth and seventh domestic violence shelters opened under her leadership and 14 total that she oversees for URI.
Danielle Emery, who leads the groundbreaking, innovative URI People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, notes that “allowing survivors and their animals to live and heal together not only removes a barrier to seeking safety, but honors the bond and love we share with our pets. It’s a privilege to be recognized as an Advocate of New York City, and I’m proud to bring further awareness to the role pets play in serving survivors and families.”
Danielle supports those living in URI’s innovative PALS co-living shelters by working closely with families, enhancing programming tailored to the needs of survivors and pets, and connecting with supporters ranging from local communities up to Capitol Hill to educate and advocate for the needs of survivors with pets. Danielle was instrumental in opening PALS Place, the first domestic violence shelter in the country specifically designed and developed to shelter pets alongside their families, and coordinated the opening of Harmony House, the largest transitional shelter that is also 100% pet-friendly, providing a critical continuum of care for families with pets. Amid the pandemic, PALS reached a milestone 250 families served including the 300th pet welcomed into URI’s co-living facilities.
Isabel Spoehr, Program Director at URI’s Restoration Residence, notes that “advocacy matters not only for those we serve in shelter each day, but also in representing the voices of those who have yet to escape abuse and pursuing policies and resources that empower survivors to take that step towards safety. I am in awe of their resiliency, and honor them with this honor of mine.”
Isabel manages URI’s largest emergency domestic violence shelter, ensuring a safe and trauma-informed environment for survivors to thrive, and educates the community on trauma and how to support survivors. Despite a year of widespread public health and economic challenges, she has continued to help clients survive and thrive — moving into permanent housing, finding employment, and accessing critical resources.
These three honorees are among those who have helped make URI the largest provider of domestic violence residential services, offering comprehensive, client-centric and innovative programs to empower those impacted by abuse to live safe, full, and independent lives. The organization offers both emergency and transitional residential services as well as prevention, education, and intervention programs to address abuse from all points of the cycle. URI’s shelters remain open and available all day, every day. For more information visit www.urinyc.org or for immediate assistance, call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE.
About Urban Resource Institute (URI)
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization based in New York City that empowers individuals, families, communities, particularly communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of violence, homelessness, poverty, and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the country, URI’s innovative programs provide care for survivors of domestic violence, homeless families, and other at-risk populations, allowing them to live in safety and recover from trauma in both residential and non-residential settings. Focused on a holistic approach, encompassing prevention, intervention and direct services, and with deep community relationships and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations while influencing service delivery in other parts of the U.S. and the world. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.