About Us


About Us


Charles Settlement House

Charles Settlement House collaborates with a wide array of agencies to offer comprehensive services to the neighborhoods we serve. Among our partners are AmeriCorps, Baden Street Settlement House, City of Rochester Bureau of Youth Services and Northwest Neighborhood Service Center, Community Place of Greater Rochester, Emergency Services & Family Stabilization Network, Foodlink, Lifespan, Medical Motor Services, Monroe Community College, Monroe County Office for the Aging, Nazareth College, Rochester- Monroe Youth Bureau, Unity Health System, University of Rochester Medical Center, and WXXI 100,000 Voices.

Funding for Charles House comes from increasingly diverse sources. The United Way of Greater Rochester is our largest single funding source. Major grants come from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, Joan & Harold Feinbloom Supporting Foundation, Guido & Ellen Palma Foundation, Rochester Area Community Foundation, John F. Wegman Fund, Marie C. & Joseph C. Wilson Foundation, and others. About a quarter of our funds come from contracts with the City of Rochester, Monroe County, and New York State. We receive donations from businesses and individuals, primarily through our Annual Appeal.

Charles Settlement House

SERVING NORTHWEST ROCHESTER, including JOSANA, Edgerton, Dutchtown, Brown Square, Lyell-Otis, Maplewood, Charlotte and all NW neighborhoods.

Charles Settlement House is helping residents access critical human services and assisting in creation of safe, secure and vibrant northwest Rochester neighborhoods. We provide a wide range of activities and programs for all ages. Volunteers are always welcome.

Our Vision, Mission and Focus

Vision Statement
Assure services are truly consumer-focused, providing coordinated, life-changing human services to individuals and families; and improve neighborhoods to be safe and thriving with a desirable quality of life.

Mission Statement
To help residents access critical human services, and help each attain personal growth, leading to sustainable self-sufficiency. To assist community development for safe, secure and vibrant neighborhoods.

Working with each consumer - individuals, families and neighborhoods - together we will determine how best to assist them to "Swing Forward to a Better Future"


Charles Settlement House was founded in 1917 by Miss Harriet Barry and a group of Catholic laywomen as an affiliate of the Catholic Charities. These women assisted Italian, and later German, immigrants to settle in the community. The agency is named after Charles Barry, the father of the founder. It was originally located on Magne Street (now West Broad Street). In 1919, Charles House relocated to 445 Jay Street, a site the agency still uses, and began receiving Community Chest funding.

At the outset, the settlement provided health services until St. Mary's and General Hospitals provided this service and as a place of worship until St. Francis of Assisi Church was built in 1929. Early programs included English, Citizenship, Nutrition, and Homemaking classes to help the newcomer adjust to his environment. Early social development programs, still an important component of agency programs, included clubs and classes for grade school youth, teens, and adults and summer programs for youth. In 1965, a Neighborhood Development Program to encourage citizen participation through Neighborhood Associations, and a family casework service were added. Senior services and a nutrition center were added in 1972 as that need was identified in the community.

The agency was incorporated separately from Catholic Charities in 1978, and soon after events began that would bring major change to the agency and the community. In the early 1980s, Charles Settlement House was part of a wide-scale community-based planning study. The results of the study indicated that there were significant human service needs in portions of northwest Rochester (north of Lyell Avenue) and that those areas were unserved and underserved in terms of programs and services to address the needs.

The Board of Directors of Charles Settlement House felt it was their duty to review the findings of the study carefully and determine what if anything would be the appropriate response of the agency. An Advisory Board was established to represent both community groups and areas of needed expertise. The group worked for six months and produced a report that called for two things: the expansion of the present building and services at 445 Jay Street, and the establishment of a new site for delivery of human services in or near the Edgerton neighborhood. Based on a recommendation of the United Way, Charles Settlement House combined with the other five Rochester settlement houses that were in similar need of renovated and/or expanded facilities to pursue a systems approach to realizing this potential. The United Neighborhood Centers of Greater Rochester Foundation (UNCGRF) was established and it was charged to raise 20 million dollars to fund the various capital projects.

Funders also indicated that there would be no new program funding in the foreseeable future, so Charles House was challenged to look at innovative ways of bringing additional programs and services to the neighborhood where they could be accessed by community residents. Sixteen metropolitan-wide human service agencies were called together to discuss the possibility of a collaborative venture. Six agencies, with Charles House as lead, formed the Northwest Collaborative. Original members included Action for a Better Community, Family Service of Rochester, Hillside Children's Center, Monroe County Department of Social Services, and the Urban League of Rochester. The goal of the Community Center is to provide coordinated, comprehensive services to neighborhood residents right in the neighborhood.

Many sites were examined as possible locations for the Community Center to be built north of Lyell Avenue. Finally, the property was acquired on Parkway Avenue (originally the Gioia macaroni plant) and in late 1995 construction began. The Charles House Community Center opened in January 1997.

The opportunity to purchase a building right next to the 445 Jay Street site provided an ideal location for an Activity Center. The Jay Street sites were renovated and the Activity Center opened in 1996.

Much has changed in the over one hundred years that the agency has been in the business of addressing neighborhood issues. What hasn't changed is the commitment of Charles Settlement House to ensure that quality human services, developed in response to neighborhood needs, are available to residents in their community whether we provide them directly, in collaboration with other providers, or through referral.

Today Charles Settlement House is the only comprehensive human service provider centered in Northwest Rochester. We offer neighborhood-based programs for approximately 3000 children, teens, families, and seniors each year. Additionally, we work with residents to build the capacity of the neighborhoods we serve. Our annual budget is approximately $1.1 million with a staff of 25 full and part-time employees.

Corporate Compliance

It has been and continues to be the policy of Charles Settlement House to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, and payer requirements. It is also Charles Settlement House’s policy to adhere to the Code of Ethics that is adopted by the Board of Directors, the President and CEO and the Compliance Committee.

We have always been and remain committed to our responsibility to conduct our business affairs with integrity based on sound ethical and moral standards. We will hold our employees, volunteers, contracted practitioners, and vendors to these same standards.

Corporate Compliance Plan is available for download below in PDF format.

Click Here to Download Corporate Compliance Plan
TITLE VI PUBLIC NOTICECharles Settlement House operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, or national origin, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights act of 1964.
Click Here to Download Title VI Public Notice
AffiliationCharles Settlement House is affiliated with The Community Place of Rochester. Both organizations are settlement houses with over 100 years of service in Rochester and the same philosophy and model of service. Charles Settlement House primarily serves northwest Rochester and The Community Place of Greater Rochester primarily serves the northeast quadrant of our city. Collaboration and shared services began in 2018 and this formal affiliation began in October 2021. The two organizations have separate 501(c)3 non-profit status and separate budgets. However, there is a common board of directors, shared administration, and some shared staff. This affiliation provides operational efficiencies and opportunities for program and service expansion across our service areas.