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In the late '60s, parents of children with Cerebral Palsy in Geneva banded together to start Happiness House. The New York State Elks Club and the Women's Club of Geneva raised the money necessary to open the first childcare program in a house on North Street, serving five children with disabilities. Happiness House was then chosen to become the Finger Lakes affiliate of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.
Thanks to strong community and family support during the '70s and '80s, outreach services for children and adults doubled. Year-round therapy and educational programs, the Parent Infant Program and the Summer Recreation Program were all in place. A second facility was opened in Canandaigua providing the same services that were offered in Geneva.
In 1992, Happiness House built an 18,500 square foot facility on Pre-Emption Road in Geneva, the current administrative home of Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy. Services continued to grow in Canandaigua leading to the opening of a second location on North Street, expanding special education services, offering Service Coordination, Article 28 Clinic Services and an array of programs and services for individuals who had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
The demand for Happiness House services continued to grow, prompting Happiness House to launch and successfully complete a $1.5 million capital campaign in 2003 that would allow for a 5,000 square foot addition to the Geneva facility and to build a facility in Canandaigua that would house all the services that were currently being delivered at three leased locations. In 2005, that 23,000 square foot facility was built on County Road 30 in Canandaigua.
In 2013, to enhance growth and economic development was the completion of our transitional home in partnership with the Golisano Foundation. This 5,300 square foot, eight person transitional residence will be equipped with eight efficiency apartments in Canandaigua, New York. It is a “one of a kind” non-certified transitional home which will assist us in serving three young adults with disabilities and five adults with TBI.
Our most recent project, a 20,000 square foot, two story, apartment complex, located Happiness House Blvd. in Canandaigua, NY. This 20 unit, non-certified residence has 18/one bedroom units at 650 sq. ft., 2/two bedroom units at 900 sq. ft., a living room, small kitchen and bathroom. This Living Center is equipped with a community room, kitchen, laundry facilities and office space as well.
Happiness House was awarded $2.4 million through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York State Homes & Community Renewal's Unified Funding Application. Additionally, a $1.4 million grant was awarded from The New York State Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, as well as very generous gifts from Federal Home Loan Bank, and community funders who provided us with the funding for engineering and start up costs for this project.
During its forty plus year history, propelled by these founding parents and the vision of community volunteers, Happiness House has developed a reputation for leadership and innovation in developing exemplary programs - many of which have become models for statewide programs. Today, Happiness House provides a comprehensive array of programs and services to more than 1,500 children, adults and their families in Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates Counties.