About Us

Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.

Since our founding almost four decades ago, we have grown from a staff of two to a staff of over 120 dedicated professionals. NMIC staff can identify and address a broad array of immediate needs, integrating numerous crisis intervention services under one roof. We now serve all New York City residents with a focus on those in Northern Manhattan and the South and West Bronx.

 

With their crises resolved, our clients move seamlessly to capacity building services through our holistic programs designed to support individuals and families as they develop the tools to transition from crisis to self-sufficiency.

Our Legal Services, Social Services, and Weatherization programs meet community members’ basic needs including housing, immigration, income, and health.

An immigration sign that reads "If they won't let us dream, we won't let them sleep, NMIC"
A dark-skinned man stands in a red shirt with a white NMIC logo on it holding his arm up and smilingly shouting

Our Community Organizing program empowers groups of residents to collectively secure longer term and larger scale improvements to their own basic needs.

Our Education and Career Services program imparts individual community members with the additional practical tools necessary to build secure and prosperous futures.

A young Black person in a Black cap and gown with gold tassels reads a white and blue program
An immigration sign that reads "If they won't let us dream, we won't let them sleep, NMIC"

Our Legal Services, Social Services, and Weatherization programs meet community members’ basic needs including housing, immigration, income, and health.

A dark-skinned man stands in a red shirt with a white NMIC logo on it holding his arm up and smilingly shouting

Our Community Organizing program empowers groups of residents to collectively secure longer term and larger scale improvements to their own basic needs.

A young Black person in a Black cap and gown with gold tassels reads a white and blue program

Our Education and Career Services program imparts individual community members with the additional practical tools necessary to build secure and prosperous futures.

An Overview of NMIC’s History

What began as a grassroots effort to provide access to legal housing support to new immigrants has evolved into a leading settlement house in Northern Manhattan. For over four decades, NMIC has catalyzed intergenerational change in our community. Let’s take a scroll down memory lane. 

March 1979

NMIC Is Founded

 

In March of 1979, NMIC opened its doors as a legal services organization on 181st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue with a staff of two attorneys and four community organizers. We offered legal services to recent immigrants primarily from the Dominican Republic and at the time, was the only organization offering free legal services in Northern Manhattan. In our first year, we provided 12,000 people with free legal services, organized 50 buildings, helped repair 200 buildings, and formed five block associations.  

March 1979

1980

Neighborhood Patrol

 

Our first Neighborhood Patrol consisted of four community organizers. Along with newly empowered community members, they formed tenant patrols and engaged in block-watching and crime prevention sessions during tenant meetings in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill in response to a rising crime rate. In its first year in operation, 278 buildings were burglarized, including 36 stores, 14 schools, convents, and churches. 

1980

July 1990

Union Comunal is Founded

 

The Community Union of Washington Heights and Inwood, or Union Communal, was founded on July 15, 1990, under the name “Washington Heights Tenants Alliance.” Their goal was to organize and advocate for reforms that would improve the quality of life for primarily low-income Washington Heights and Inwood residents. 

July 1990

1992

Building Strong Communities

 

Tenants pose for a photograph after we completed renovations at our very first development project located at 453 West 166 Street, New York, NY. 

1992

1994

Showing Off Our Work

 

Director of Weatherization, Dan Rieber, gives members of the U.S Department of Energy a tour at a development site. Today, our Weatherization programs include housing upgrades that improve energy efficiency and an air-conditioning program that aids individuals with critical health conditions. For our communities, these services create a lasting and positive impact on their health, financial well-being, and reduces adverse effects on the environment.

1994

1997

Education & Career Services

 

In 1997, we introduced our Education Department in response to a growing need for free education-related programs in the areas of literacy, language proficiency, and high school equivalency. Our Workplace Development program followed soon after, providing the community with free training services, workforce/job readiness training, career development, and certification programs. In 2014, the two departments joined forces and became one, forming our Education & Career Services Department.

1997

1998

Domestic Violence Services

 

Our Domestic Violence Project was founded in 1998 in response to the rising number of domestic violence cases and the deaths of three women in Washington Heights. Today DVP is a survivor-centered program that creates a safe space to build community through weekly support groups, safety planning, counseling, access to social services, and free legal support.

1998

2001

The Brides’ March


The tragic death of Gladys Ricart on her wedding day inspired the first Brides’ March in 2001. We co-founded the event alongside partner organizations, including the Dominican Women’s Development Center, the Violence Intervention Program, the Dominican Women’s Caucus, and the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence. Today, the Brides March targets areas with high incident reports of DV.

2001

2012

Our Worker Co-Ops

 

In 2012, we developed our first worker cooperative ‘Ecomundo,’ a cleaning service founded by 17 people from the Bronx and Manhattan. Today, they collectively own and operate a successful business that earns more than half a million dollars a year in revenue. In 2017, we successfully organized our second worker cooperative, NannyBee, which is the only childcare service owned and operated by nannies in Upper Manhattan.   

2012

2016

Expanding to the Bronx

 

Facing increased displacement, many of our clients who were residents of Upper Manhattan moved to the Bronx but continued to need our services. In response, we opened a new Bronx office. This expanded our reach and allowed us to serve more of New York’s most vulnerable populations with free holistic services around housing, immigration legal services, and benefits access. 

2016

Now

NMIC Today

 

Today, we serve over 14,000 people through more than 15 free services and programs, with a staff of over 120, four offices across the city, and a stronger commitment to being a catalyst for positive change in the lives of many.

Now

Join a community 40-years strong

There are many ways to become part of NMIC, from volunteering, joining an advocacy campaign, to donating. Become a catalyst 

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