News And Events

What's Going On At Unity House


Forms clinical department, enhances employment services and mental health outreach effort

5/16/2023 - Auburn, New York – Unity House’s CEO Elizabeth Smith is pleased to announce the hiring of three new directors.

Taylor Casamassima, Director of Mental Health Rehabilitation Services. Taylor first joined the agency in 2014, working her way up from Senior Residential Counselor to Quality Assurance Specialist. She left Unity House in 2019 to gain leadership experience overseeing other residential program operations. Taylor has now rejoined Unity House as the director of the PROS mental health program. She holds a M.A. in business management from Keuka College.

Dr. Hannah Young, Director of Clinical Services. Hannah was chosen to lead the newly-created Clinical Department to further advance our mission and enhance the lives of the people we support. Hannah has been with Unity House for almost nine years and is a licensed psychologist. She earned her doctorate in psychology from Alfred University, and was previously a professor at the university. Hannah is also a certified trainer in the realm of school crisis intervention.

Amanda McManus, Director of Unity Employment Services (UES). Amanda joined Unity House in the fall of 2021, first as a program manager and was then promoted to director in the fall of 2022. She aims to continue our legacy of providing person-centered, quality employment services and looks to create meaningful community connections for our pre-vocational and career-specific vocational training programs. Amanda holds a M.A. in literacy education (Grades 5-12) from SUNY Oswego.

For more information, please contact Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Buck at 315.253.6227 x313.


Lorie Fischer of Union Springs joins agency in leadership role

7/14/2022 - Auburn, New York – Unity House CEO Liz Smith has announced that a new community leader has joined the agency’s board of directors. Lorie Fischer of the Cayuga County Health Department began her new duties in June.

“Lorie has solid experience and knowledge of special needs in Cayuga County,” said Liz. “This lends well to the organization because many of the individuals we support need and access those services regularly. Lorie was recommended by the county health department, and I look forward to working with her.”

Lorie Fischer holds a B.S. in Education from SUNY-Cortland. She is the program director / early intervention official with Services for Children with Special Needs at the Cayuga County Health Department, where she has worked since 2006. Previously, she held positions at the Gavras Center in Auburn, and in North Carolina, Japan, and San Diego. Lorie served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1987 – 1995.

“I am very excited to be on the Unity House board of directors; I want to remain active in my community,” said Lorie. “I have many years of experience working with the developmentally disabled population. I look forward to being part of a team that helps many people be successful in the community that I live in, work in and love.”

For more information, please contact Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Buck at 315.253.6227 x313.


Advancement opportunities pay off for long-time employees

5/25/2022 - Auburn, New York – Unity House is pleased to promote from within and recognize the good work of three long-time employees. All three positions are based in Ithaca, NY.

Director of Day Services Aaron Brozon. Aaron has served as assistant program director for residential services in Tompkins County for 12 years, and joined the agency in 2006. Upon the resignation of Lee Sullivan, Aaron was selected to become the director of day services in both Cayuga and Tompkins Counties. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Seton Hall University.

Assistant Director of Residential Services Candi Saxman. Candi was chosen to fill the assistant director position vacated by Aaron. Candi has been with Unity House for 17 years and most recently was program manager of the Danby Road IRA. She maintains her nursing license, and has been actively involved at the agency on the Staff Appreciation Committee and as a Sensitivity and CPR/First Aid instructor.

Assistant Director of Day Services James Beaumont. This new position was created due to the size and scope of the agency’s day programs. James was promoted from day services program manager in Ithaca, reporting to Aaron Brozon. James has been with Unity House since 2011. He earned an associate’s degree in human services from Genesee Community College, and a bachelor’s in social work from SUNY Plattsburgh.

For more information, please contact Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Buck at 315.253.6227 x313.


Dorothy Radcliff hired to lead Grace House recovery program

3/25/2022 - Auburn, New York – Unity House’s Chief Operating Officer Darlene Podolak announces that Dorothy Radcliff has joined the agency as the new director of Grace House’s substance use program. Dorothy began her new duties in February. She replaces former director Ashley Short.

Dorothy Radcliff of Scipio Center, NY, holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Nazareth College, and is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). She most recently was a program director and counselor at Helio Health in Syracuse, and worked for many years at Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services.

“Dorothy comes to Unity House with extensive experience in central New York providing a variety of services to individuals in recovery,” said Darlene. “I am looking forward to her leadership at Grace House and the supportive living program, providing residential support and guidance. I anticipate that she will become a part of the Auburn community very quickly, and the transition will be positive for the staff and the residents.”

In this role, Dorothy is responsible for direct oversight and monitoring of all operations for Grace House and the agency’s supportive living facility. She provides clinical and administrative supervision, guidance, direction and counsel to the community residence program staff. She will also foster and maintain an environment that promotes the health and safety of persons in recovery while recognizing that each individual has potential for lifelong learning and growth.

“Addiction is a powerful disease, and one that has touched everyone’s life directly or indirectly,” said Dorothy. “I’m very excited to return to the community that I grew up in to work with the Grace House team in making a difference, one day at a time.”

For more information, please contact Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Buck at 315.253.6227 x313.

Celebrating 45 Years of Outstanding Human Service in CNY

1/26/2022 - Unity House is observing its 45th anniversary in 2022. The agency got its start in 1972 when it began offering housing services to emotionally disabled veterans. The agency leased space in the historic Case mansion on South Street in Auburn from First Presbyterian Church. Twenty-one beds were made available to this population, and a community need was met.

Five years later, it became clear that this need was growing and Unity House decided to expand to meet it. The agency hired its first executive director and on March 28, 1977, Unity House’s articles of incorporation were filed, making it official. In April, the agency obtained not-for-profit status, and the following year, the program was certified as a community residence by the state Department of Mental Hygiene.

While Unity House concentrated on mental health services early on, the agency now also serves people with developmental disabilities (PWDD) and those with substance use disorders. We began offering employment services in 1988, and housing, day habilitation, and case management for the PWDD population in the early 1990s. Unity House received state funding in 1995 to open Cayuga County’s only halfway house for individuals in recovery from addiction. To date, Grace House has supported more than 2,000 people.

In 1997, Unity House was named by the state as the successor agency for HOMES, Inc. in Ithaca, NY. This introduced the agency to Tompkins County. Today, we operate a dozen group homes (IRAs), a day habilitation center, Without Walls day services, seven respite beds, and a large number of independent apartments scattered across the Ithaca area. Even though our headquarters are located in Auburn, the number of staff and people we support has surpassed those in Cayuga County.

Now in our 45th year, Unity House serves more than 1,000 individuals a day in seven central New York counties. We employ about 450 staff, and administer a $25 million budget. Funding is primarily from New York State.

At the root of this success are of course the people – the wonderful people Unity House serves, partners with and employs. Over the course of four and a half decades, the agency has empowered and enriched the lives of so many, and we look forward to doing so for another 45 years.

Unity House is so grateful for the acceptance and care it receives from the many communities and people it serves. We invite our friends to help us celebrate our 45th throughout 2022. Thank you for supporting our mission.