East House Increases to $15 per-hour Minimum Wage for Employees Delivering Critical Services


Rochester, NY – August 10, 2021 – East House, a nonprofit that has provided housing and support services to individuals recovering from mental health and substance use disorders for 55 years, is raising the base starting pay for employees to $15-per-hour. President and CEO, Kim Brumber, announced the wage increase to all staff last month.

“The work our employees do is incredibly tough and their passion and commitment to our clients is what makes this place so special,” said Ms. Brumber. “While this increase is a step in the right direction, we need the community and our elected officials to know this is not the only answer. We continue to face ongoing pressures as the scope of practice and staff responsibility has increased, client health challenges have grown more complex, and the labor market continues to be extremely competitive. The health of our community depends on programs and services like East House.”

East House employs 215 full-time, part-time and per-diem employees and is one of the last providers in this region specializing in both mental health and substance use disorders for adults, as regulated by both the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). This baseline-pay change comes amid an increasing demand for services, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year, East House works with more than 1,500 clients most of whom live below the poverty line and receive a continuum of supported residential care including short-term respite, 24-hour community living, apartments with on-site staff, and independent living support. Education, employment, and financial case management are also important elements to wellness and healing and East House provides a network of wraparound recovery services that continue to evolve based on client needs.

According to the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, only 20% of health occurs in the medical setting, the other 80% is influenced (often negatively) by systems and policies that create inequities, neighborhoods that lack needed resources, and power imbalances that prevent communities from having control of their own health. East House programs are just one approach to addressing social determinants of health and a much deeper problem: pervasive poverty in our region, combined with significant economic inequality among communities of color and segregation by race and ethnicity.

Founded in 1966, East House became part of the mental health revolution when it opened one of the first psychiatric community residences in the country. For more information about East House programs and services, please visit easthouse.org.