Who We Are
In the 1960s, patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals, who were not ready to live on their own, had no place to go. To that end, the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Rochester, New York, headed by Hilton Hedrick, developed a plan that would provide supported housing options for persons with persistent mental illness in the community.
As result of the MHA plan, East House was founded. The founding board members, led by Paul Wolk and Hettie Shumway, championed East House to become incorporated as a non-profit organization.
In 1966, with the additional support of local foundations and private donations, Dorothea Brayer was hired as East House’s first executive director. That year, with three employees and an annual budget of $39,000, East House became the first halfway house in upstate New York and one of the pioneer programs in the country for persons recovering from mental illness.
Founding board members of East House include State Supreme Court Justice David O. Boehm; Hettie Shumway, a community volunteer and philanthropist; Ralph Collins, M.D. and James Sterner, M.D., medical directors from Eastman Kodak; and Paul Wolk, a local businessman.