• 2 April 2012

Yvonne Simmons

Yvonne Simmons’ struggle with sub­stance addic­tion in the 1980s con­tributed to her home­less­ness, which led her in 1992 to the front door of The Heights, Broadway Housing Communities first building. Shortly after moving in, she joined the front desk tenant patrol com­prised of her neigh­bors. Being respon­sible for others expanded her under­standing of mental ill­ness, helped her gain insight and “to gather strength in who I am.” This strength prompted her to relo­cate and rent an apart­ment in Brooklyn, reuniting her with her two sons. Following a posi­tion at a shelter for home­less men­tally ill women, Yvonne accepted a full-time posi­tion at Broadway Housing Communities in 1999. From that date ever since, Yvonne has ded­i­cated her­self to lis­tening to others and being an honest guide to healthy choices. She has guided hun­dreds of single men and women to leave NYC’s emer­gency shelter system into housing and to resist the destruc­tive dynamics of the street. “I tell it like it is,” she will declare, meaning, that if you bring havoc into Broadway Housing Communities, Yvonne will undoubt­edly hear about it by morning: she’ll come knocking at your door. Yvonne has an acute sen­si­tivity for inter­preting the rav­ages of mental ill­ness to family, friends, neigh­bors, or doc­tors who do not truly under­stand. Yvonne’s spe­cial form of com­pas­sion is a com­pletely non-judg­mental form, with a bias favoring the most down­trodden. Yvonne is the person called when­ever the tenant in charge at Broadway Housing’s six build­ings has a emer­gency they cannot handle and needs back-up. Yvonne always answers her cell phone at any time of day or night for everyone at Broadway Housing Communities. Yvonne’s com­pas­sion is con­tin­uous, unstinting and inde­fati­gable.

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