Community League of the Heights

  • NY


500 West 159th Street
New York
United States

About Us


Since 1952, the Community League of the Heights – CLOTH has been dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life for residents of the Southern Washington Heights area. Our mission encompasses advocacy, organizing and providing of services related to decent affordable housing, education, health, youth services and neighborhood improvement.

Our enduring philosophy is: our doors are always open to neighbors in need.


The Community League of the Heights, Inc. (CLOTH) is a multi-service community development corporation in southern Washington Heights. For over 50 years Community League of the Heights has offered a wide range of programs.

• Affordable housing for more than 500 families, with an additional 141 units in production. CLOTH is the largest not for profit provider of affordable housing in Washington Heights.

• Educational programs, including daily after-school sessions for 75 children. The Heiskell Technology Center (opening September 2007) which will provide computer classes, free Internet access and career-development tutorials; and, the Community Health Academy of the Heights, a New Visions/New Century small school in partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Columbia Medical Center. The school provides a rigorous education experience for children grades 6 through 12.

• Social services, our Single Stop counselors, serve at least 90 people monthly with counseling and legal services as well as referrals to government and other agencies for immigration matters and rent subsidies.

• A Food Pantry, which provides nutritious food to more than 1,000 families a month.


The Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) was formed under the name of the Community League of West 159th Street, Inc. in January of 1952 by Lucille Bulger. A strong advocate for the education and welfare of children, Ms. Bulger and other parents on the block recognized the lack of recreational and educational resources available to youth in the neighborhood. Pooling their resources, they engaged the services of bus companies, camps and families so that neighborhood youth could spend two to four weeks outside of the city during the summer. From this effort grew a volunteer-run educational after –school program, a young adult etiquette and social skills program and a family – oriented neighborhood clean-up initiative. ClOTH convened initially in the homes of members of its Board of Directors on Sunday afternoons. After several years, the owner of an apartment building at 540 West 159th Street allowed the organization to meet in a basement room. CLOTH now owns the building and operates youth programs in the basement.

CLOTH has benefited from the extraordinary leadership of two Executive Directors since its founding: Ms. Bulger, who served as Executive Director from 1952 to 1994; and Yvonne Stennett who has led the organization since.

Since its inception CLOTH has grown from a volunteer agency providing services primarily for youth to a multi – service organization. Today, CLOTH addresses a wide variety of needs - affordable housing, economic and environmental development, nutrition and health education, after school programs, supervised recreational youth programs and family support services. This mandate to provide a full range of services is reflected in the closing sentence of CLOTH's mission statement: "Our doors are always open to neighbors in need."