Cara House. Its name means “a friend” in Gaelic. Its station will serve to welcome those in need with open arms. 

In 2017, Schenectady County’s sole re-entry program was closed due to budget cuts. Due to lack of affordable and supportive housing in the county, Bethesda House had already been planning to apply for state funding to open a new permanent supportive housing building adjacent to our pre-existing one on State Street. Bethesda House has continued to be an innovative agency and leader in providing the wraparound services needed to fully address homelessness and its causes/symptoms. 

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From 2017-2019, Cara House was conceived by our executive leaders, the board and the city of Schenectady. We began the process of applying for state funding in 2019 and were finally approved in 2021 with awards for the construction of the building. This led to ESSHI awarding us with funding for partial operating costs, which will mainly cover salaries for Cara House staff. 

On April 12th, 2022, Bethesda House broke ground on Cara House at 917 State Street. 

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On November 30th, 2023, Cara House had its grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bethesda House of Schenectady’s Cara House permanent supportive housing program, will have 26 units/26 beds (10 general chronic homeless population/16 ex-offenders incarceration), 16 emergency beds, common areas, and office space.

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The intensive work necessary to address the social determinants of health, which paralyze an individual’s confidence and ability to live independently, is an essential component of this program.

The primary objective of this project is to provide individuals, who have unmet housing needs, stable housing in a safe/secure environment. Additional program objectives are: to integrate primary care and behavioral health treatment programs; to assist residents in becoming financially stable; and to provide access to employment and education where applicable.

Cara House Program Highlights

  • Housing: Cara House will offer 26 permanent supportive housing apartments and 16 emergency beds for the chronically homeless in Schenectady County. 10 permanent supportive housing units will be reserved for the general homeless population and 16 will be reserved for those recently released from incarceration.
  • Re-Entry Program: Cara House will fill the gap for a dedicated re-entry program in Schenectady County. Those recently released from incarceration will have access to education classes, job training and peer counselors as they re-integrate back into society
  • Medical Care Program: Cara House will expand upon Bethesda House’s pre-existing in-house medical care program. With a fully-equipped medical exam office, our resident nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner will treat guests and residents who are unable to receive consistent care due to insurance costs, waitlists, and other barriers to entry.Cara House will also have medical respite beds available for those in need of around-the-clock care. This is a first for Schenectady County.
  • Education Program: Cara House will offer educational classes for guests and residents tailored to their individual needs. Classes will address barriers to employment, job training, working with authority figures and nutrition.

Cara House will carry on the legacy of this "House of Mercy"'s mission for years to come. A simple thank you couldn’t suffice, but know we hold the deepest gratitude in our hearts for your unwavering support in this journey.

May we all carry the spirit of Cara House in our hearts, seeking to be a friend to all.


Thank you to our significant donors:

American Rescue Plan

Arnold Cogswell Health Foundation

Broadview Federal Credit Union

The Carlilian Foundation

City of Schenectady

Federal Home Loan Bank of NY

The Neil & Jane, William & Estelle Golub Family Foundation

Hannaford Charitable Foundation

Highmark Blue Fund

Kathleen N. Crowley Trust

KeyBank Foundation

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Schenectady County

The Schenectady Foundation

William Gundry Broughton Foundation


Special thank you to Charles (Chad Kilbourne), Sharran Coppola and Cathy Terwilliger, without whom this never would have been conceived and brought to life.