D.A. Vance, Exodus Transitional Community Celebrate Grand Opening of $8 Million “Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation” in East Harlem


November 16, 2021

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., and Exodus Transitional Community today celebrated the grand opening of the first-of-its-kind Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation (“ECTI”) located in East Harlem and serving Northern Manhattan. The Center, funded with an $8 million grant from the D.A.’s Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which D.A. Vance created using millions seized in investigations against major banks, addresses the needs of individuals exposed to trauma, focusing on community members who have historically faced higher rates of violence and lacked access to services, including adults with justice involvement, young adults, the LGBTQIA+ community, and immigrant populations.
 
“This ground-breaking Center will help underserved communities break cycles of violence, heal survivors, and prevent future justice-system involvement,” said District Attorney Vance. “I was immensely proud to fund the Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation through my Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, and couldn’t be more pleased to see its beautiful new facilities in action. I thank Julio Medina and all of our partners for helping us bring these much-needed resources to East Harlem, for their long-standing dedication to promoting healing and resiliency among our neighbors.”
 
Exodus’s Founder, Executive Director and CEO, Julio Medina said: “At Exodus, we have seen the need for innovative approaches to addressing trauma, mental health and community healing. Our Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation embodies this concept of innovative healing, delivered by people with their own healing. Our approach to addressing our trauma is unique, effective and essential. We strive to be a staple in the East Harlem and justice impacted community; to advocate for services created by the community, for the community.”
 
Housed next door to Exodus Transitional Community’s East Harlem headquarters in a brand-new space featuring a recording studio, yoga studio, private therapy rooms, and more, the ECTI offers free, extensive, evidence-based clinical and non-clinical therapies. Community-based healing staff engage in traditional and non-traditional forms of physical, psychological, and emotional healing. The ECTI will build relationships with the community through as many access points as possible and pursue creative means to engage in healing work.
 
In addition to treating hundreds of New Yorkers, the ECTI will provide training and technical assistance to New York City agencies and other community-based organizations to be more competent in working with people who have experienced trauma. It will also create a Trauma Innovation Learning Community that brings together national leaders in this field to contribute new research about this underserved population, and develop best-practices.
 
Along with its on-site therapeutic services, the ECTI will operate a van that will respond in real-time to crises and connect with individuals on the ground. Additionally, Exodus will partner with existing grassroots organizations to offer a multi-faceted approach to trauma treatment. These partner organizations will provide innovative approaches to healing, such as: animal assisted healing, media and journalism workshops, restorative circles, specialized group counseling, and the use of art and drama in therapy.
 
Exodus will also select three small organizations in Northern Manhattan that are conducting healing work and provide them with micro-grants of $20,000 per year for three years, along with training and support to help them grow.
 
CJII Research and Consultation Process
 
The CJII plan and investments are the result of an extensive process incorporating research, data analysis, and outreach to community leaders and stakeholders conducted by CUNY ISLG. As the technical assistance provider, ISLG analyzed research in areas affecting public safety in New York City, including systemic factors at the neighborhood level that have an impact on crime, and data from a number of agencies involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, ISLG conducted extensive interviews with more than 250 experts in the criminal justice community and related fields, including clinical practitioners; leaders from philanthropic, non-profit, and grassroots organizations; representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies; academics; and elected officials. Following this process, ISLG worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to develop a comprehensive set of investments that, together, will have a significant, lasting impact on public safety and justice reform in New York City. ISLG will provide program oversight and performance measurement to grantees selected under CJII.
 
A full list of investments can be found in CJII’s 2020 Annual Report.