Homecrest Community Services (HCS) was established in 1997 as a grass-root effort spearheaded by Luther Mook, a Chinese American and Roland Hill, an African American WWII vet, both were community advocates and residents of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The early founders saw an urgent and unmet need for social, health, access to resources and other essential services of a rapidly growing and greatly underserved, Asian-American population that had moved to Sheepshead Bay within the past decades. Today there is a vibrant and thriving Asian community visible by the many Asian stores and Asian residents that have settled in Sheepshead Bay and in neighboring areas of Southern Brooklyn.
HCS founders sought to find a solution to help the underserve Asian immigrant community and reached out to Homecrest Presbyterian Church with a 100 year history in the community. They partnered with the church to lease their social hall to start HCS' first Community and Senior Center. It created a new home where HCS has been for the past 20 years. From the onset, the center had an average of over 100 to 200 walk-ins a day. The demand had been there all along. Through word of mouth and outreach, the Sheepshead Bay community senior center grew and is now an anchor and place where the community trust to go for assistance and social service.
The Chinese population continues to grow in Brooklyn and is the second largest immigrant group in NYC. In 2004, HCS opened a satellite senior center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. HCS saw that the neighborhood of Bensonhurst had the same unmet needs as that of Sheepshead Bay. Chinese immigrants and seniors in particular had limited places to go for social services because of the lack of culturally competent programming and services that served them in Brooklyn. Because of this issue many of the Chinese seniors used to commute to Chinatown for assistance but could not do so daily because they had to care for their grandchildren. Others had limited mobility; limited English proficiency and cultural barriers so they did not seek help at all. A local community center was greatly needed to provide a place to address a multitude of social needs that Asian immigrants in Brooklyn faced.
Through a competitive process, in 2013 HCS' Bensonhurst senior center became the first Asian American neighborhood senior center in Brooklyn to be funded by the New York City’s Dept. for the Aging. HCS is hopeful that the Sheepshead Bay senior center which have survived highs and lows of funding gaps will one day receive stable funding from the New York City's Dept. for the Aging.
In the more than two decades of serving the Asian American community in Brooklyn, HCS is proud to be a place where seniors and immigrants can come for support and assistance.