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Since its founding in 1980, Urban Resource Institute (URI) has provided life-changing services to improve and empower New York City’s vulnerable populations. Today, URI is the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter and services. Behind the organization’s 40 year history, a narrative of growth and innovation demonstrates URI’s focus on addressing the underserved needs of vulnerable populations and breaking down barriers preventing those needs from being fulfilled. Read more about key milestones in our four decades of impact and watch it come to life with this video narrated by actress Annie Potts.

Timeline of Key Milestones and Achievements

CADV Programs/Sites in italics


Women's Survival Space (WSS1) became operational in 1977


Urban Resource Institute (URI) is founded in Brooklyn as an affiliate of the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC).


URI offers services to domestic violence victims at Harlem Hospital.


URI opens its first emergency domestic violence (DV) shelter, in Manhattan, renamed the Urban Women’s Retreat in 1990.


URI’s services include aiding the developmentally disabled and those battling addiction


Urban Resource Institute opens Urban Center for Change transitional domestic violence shelter


Women's Safe Start (WSS2) became operational in 1997


URI creates the Working Women’s Internship Network, providing eight-week paid internships for women at URI shelters.


The Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) is created to provide healthy relationship curriculum for middle and high school students in New York City


URI opens two new emergency DV shelters, Urban Women’s New Beginnings in Manhattan with 89 beds, and Urban Women’s Safe Haven in Brooklyn with 120 beds


Judy's Place (formerly WSS3) became operational


URI creates the Domestic Violence Legal Education and Advocacy Program (LEAP), providing legal support and services to URI’s DV shelter residents


  • URI moved its headquarters from Brooklyn to lower Manhattan.
  • Urban Resource Institute ends relationship with A.R.T.C.
  • Nathaniel Fields is appointed as URI’s new CEO


URI creates the People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, NYC’s first co-living initiative allowing DV survivors and their pets to escape abuse and live together


URI opens NYC’s first in-shelter pet park, the Purina Pet Haven at Urban Women’s Safe Haven Emergency DV shelter, welcoming dogs into the PALS program.


  • URI opens Hope House emergency domestic violence shelter
  • Urban Women's Retreat opens a PALS pet haven park for survivors and their pets
  • URI launches a landmark whitepaper study analyzing the connection between domestic violence and pets using data and observations from the PALS program
  • URI discontinues MS UCAS alcohol and drug treatment program and services as a result of strategic alignment and transferred NYS OASAS license to another provider.


  • URI begins the expansion of innovative DV shelter services
  • URI expands its services to homeless families
  • URI opens Restoration Residence emergency domestic violence shelter and Metro Inn and Harlem Family Residence shelters for homeless families
  • Urban Women's New Beginnings opens a PALS pet haven park
  • URI launches the Abusive Partner Intervention Program (APIP)
  • URI holds first URI Celebration fundraising gala


  • Pacific Place shelter for homeless families opens
  • URI and Center Against Domestic Violence (CADV) announce a merger
  • URI becomes the largest provider of DV residential services in the U.S with nearly 2,200 beds across 18 shelters in NYC


  • URI receives a $5 million from the Day 1 Families Fund to build the Economic Empowerment Center
  • Merger of URI and CADV is complete; the new organization carries the URI name
  • Open Arms emergency DV shelter opens
  • Women's Second Start emergency DV shelter is renamed to Judy’s Place, honoring CADV CEO Judy Kahan
  • URI opens Adams I & II and City View homeless families shelters


  • URI opens PALS Place, 1st DV shelter in the U.S. with 100% of apartment units designed for co-living with pets
  • Urban Center for Change and Restoration Residence DV shelters open PALS pet haven parks
  • URI opens Harmony House transitional domestic violence shelter
  • Early Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (ERAPP) is created
  • URI's CEO, Nathaniel M. Fields, joins NYC Domestic Violence Task Force and is named to the New York City and State “Nonprofit Power 100” list
  • URI presents the PALS program (People and Animals Living Safely) at the World Conference on Women’s Shelters in Taiwan
  • URI convenes expert panel on cross sectional collaboration and response to the rise in intimate partner homicides in the community and ongoing efforts to increase resources, including access to shelter of victims with pets.


  • Urban Resource Institute celebrates 40 years of impact!
  • Harmony House transitional DV shelter opens a PALS pet park
  • URI's CEO Nathaniel Fields is named to New York City Mayor’s Nonprofits and Social Services Advisory Council
  • Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, URI residential facilities and services for victims of domestic violence, homeless families, and adults with developmental disabilities remain open and front-line direct-service staff continue to provide round-the-clock care and services for clients.
  • URI was recognized by The City of New York for its commitment to ending domestic violence and homelessness

    View the Certificate of Recognition


  • URI opens Family Pathways pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn, New York.
  • URI opens a new site for homeless families in the Bronx and is tapped to take on renovation and management of an existing site in Brooklyn.
  • URI publishes groundbreaking PALS Report & Survey: Domestic Violence & Pets, available for free download https://urinyc.org/palsreport
  • Virtual panel event DV & Pets: Breaking Barriers to Safety & Healing is produced by URI with experts on the intersection of domestic violence and pets. Event recording available https://urinyc.org/events/breaking-barriers
  • PetSmart Charities awards $260K to research the role of pets in recovery from domestic violence
  • URI CEO Nathaniel Fields selected for Human Services Recovery Task Force created by the Human Services Council
  • URI’s CEO Nathaniel Fields named to City & State New York 2021 Responsible 100; City & State New York Nonprofit Power 100; Crain’s New York Notable Black Leaders and Executives
  • URI’s Deputy CEO Dr. Carla Smith named to Crain’s New York 2021 Notable in Nonprofits and Philanthropy
  • Human Services Council Launches Human Services Recovery Task Force, including URI CEO Nathaniel Fields as member


  • URI opens Brighter Days, the first pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in Queens, New York. Banfield Foundation awards $65K grant for on-site Pet Park.
  • URI Economic Empowerment Program launches Fab Lab, an incubator of innovation, creativity, and high tech job training for adult and youth clients.
  • NBA Foundation awards $250k to expand workforce development for Black youth.
  • URI’s CEO Nathaniel Fields named to Crain’s New York Business Notable Black Leaders 2022 and City & State Nonprofit Power 100
  • URI’s Deputy CEO Dr. Carla Smith named to Crain’s New York Business Notable LGBTQ Leaders List
  • URI’s head of Quality Improvement, Evaluation & Training Tania Jospitre receives City & State New York Above and Beyond Innovators Award
  • URI’s Senior Program Director Ida Landers names to City & State New York 50 over 50
  • URI plays leadership role in #JustPay advocacy events organized by Human Services Council, leading to increased wages for human services workers in NYC contracts
  • URI sponsors the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Conference and the My Dog Is My Home Conference on co-sheltering people and pets

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