Unity Acres is a House of Hospitality for men. Our mission is to provide a safe, caring and permanent home for men, and particularly those who have become chronically homeless due to alcohol or substance abuse, or other factors.
When first opened in 1969, Unity Acres was envisioned by its founder, Father Raymond McVey, as a place of refuge for homeless men in Central New York and beyond. For more than 46 years, people of faith and our residents have together put into practice the works of mercy: feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, burying the dead… And Unity Acres has become a sign of hope for the men, as well as for those who have assisted in keeping Father Ray’s dream alive.
Grounded in the tradition of the Catholic Worker movement, the Unity Acres Community takes its inspiration from the Scriptures; from the faith, teaching and tradition of the Church; and from the witness and example of the saints.
We welcome homeless men to life in community. There are between 50 and 78 men living at Unity Acres at any given moment. Despite their individual troubles, the men create and maintain a serene atmosphere at the Acres. They assist one another in the many tasks necessary to create a sense of safety, sobriety and community, sharing in the work of preparing meals, doing laundry, yard work, gardening, maintenance, cutting firewood and many other activities which allow Unity Acres to function and flourish. Five staff members and 3 staff assistants provide administrative and other supports.
We are located at the site of the former Oswego County Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Orwell, New York, where we occupy four main buildings and several smaller outbuildings on 136 acres of mostly forested land. Also on the Unity Acres property is Saint Martin de Porres Cemetery, where over 210 former residents, staff members and volunteers are buried. One third of the graves at St. Martin’s are the graves of veterans.
Residents are provided food, clothing and shelter. Those who have been in residence at Unity Acres for more than 14 days are assigned a single private room. Those who have a monthly income donate a portion of their income in order to defray expenses. Those without any other source of income are given a small daily gratuity. Men are assisted in establishing eligibility for health insurance, and receive assistance with transportation to their medical appointments, and with distribution of their medications, as needed. Those who are capable of physical or other labor participate in a broad variety of activities necessary for the day-to-day operation of Unity Acres.
Our chaplain, Father Robert Jones, celebrates Mass on Sundays and during the week at Unity Acres’ Sacred Heart Chapel. AA meetings are conducted in the dining hall twice weekly.
Unity Acres maintains positive relationships with health resources, alcoholism and substance abuse treatment programs, social service agencies, and mental health facilities, in Oswego and Onondaga Counties and beyond; and with local parishes of many denominations.
Unity Acres was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 2000, and is funded largely from donations, both cash and in-kind, from individual benefactors, parishes and other religious congregations or community organizations, and from payments from our residents. Unity Acres also receives, from time to time, grants and bequests. Unity Acres does not seek or receive any direct funding from government.