On June 19th, we celebrate Dominion House’s 50th Anniversary.
Dominion House was founded in 1968 as a “halfway house” for women returning to the community following a period of hospitalization at Utica State Hospital. Its opening was a pioneering effort spearheaded by Dr. Joseph Libbon, chief of Psychiatry at Ellis Hospital, and the Junior League of Schenectady – pioneering in that that it was just the 4th program of its kind to open in New York State and only the second outside of New York City. Based on his observations and experience, Dr. Libbon knew that too many individual who struggled with mental illness lacked families who could offer them the supports they needed and that, for many, the transition from the protective environment of the hospital to the complexities of “normal life” was harsh with too many demands. As a result, far too many individuals were discharged from the hospital only to return a short time later. Dr. Libbon had a dream to open a community based “half-way house” that could offer individuals returning to the community the supports and assistance they needed as they worked to regain their independence and autonomy. Dr. Libbon shared his idea with members of the Junior League. They took his dream and made it a reality spearheading an effort to do all that was needed to turn the idea into an operating program in less than a year.
Today, fifty (50) years later, Dominion House continues to be a valuable resource for the Schenectady County community. In much the same manner as it did when it first opened Dominion House offers individuals a safe, stable place to stay and provides them with necessary supports as they stabilize and prepare to transition to a more permanent living situation. Clients served by the program have generally experienced a crisis that has disrupted their stability in the community or they are in the process of transitioning back to the community after a period of stay in a more intensive residential setting/hospital. Services offered focus on helping them gain/regain the skills and emotional stability needed to successfully reside in the community including coping skills, interpersonal skills, daily living skills, symptom management and medication management. Dominion House staff also work collaboratively with other service providers to ensure individuals’ identified needs for other services (.e. mental health and or substance abuse treatment, health care, public assistance, etc.) are appropriately addressed.
Since it’s opening in 1968 Dominion House has served as “home” for more than 2500 individuals helping them get to a better place where they are able to live as independently and autonomously as they are able.
As we celebrate Dominion House’s 50 years of service to the community, Mohawk Opportunities would like to congratulate all those who have passed through our doors on their journey towards independence. You have done well. We would also like to say thank you to Dr.Libbon and the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties for their foresight and commitment to those in need of assistance. Additionally we wish to express our appreciation to the many individuals who have volunteered and worked at Dominion House throughout the years ensuring that the residents had the supports they needed to get to a better place. We look forward to our next 50 years of service to those in need of our assistance!