United South End Settlements (USES) was founded in 1892 as Andover House, the first settlement house in Boston. Emancipated enslaved people, new European and Asian immigrants, and rural laborers came to Boston in search of work, freedom, and opportunities yet poverty, bad housing, and fierce prejudice met many. Andover House served as a communal living space for people of all backgrounds, united by the common goals of building community bonds that rose above prejudice while eliminating poverty through resource sharing and mutual support. In addition to tackling social justice issues within the city, the Andover House later founded Camp Hale in 1900 to provide children with an immersive outdoor experience on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.
Boston’s South End neighborhood holds a rich history as a local hub of Black and Latinx culture and activism – a history which includes USES and its leaders over the past 130 years. Redlining, displacement, and ill-conceived “urban renewal” projects have torn at the fabric of this community, leading to the destruction of minority-owned businesses, community spaces, and family homes. In 1959, five South End settlement houses sought to address their communities’ increasing needs by merging into what is now United South End Settlements.
Today, USES builds upon its proud legacy by employing an innovative, evidence-backed model that engages whole families with programs and services designed to build the skills and social capital they need to thrive.
Click here to learn more about USES programs.