CAPS History

1985

Talk of developing a free-standing peer-run agency began in Albany, New York.

1987

Three consumers with the help of RSS (Rehabilitation Support Services) applied for a grant to established HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Easier). HOME was part of 11 consumer operated programs funded by the Office of Mental Health and provided employment for three people helping individuals with mental illness find, get, and keep apartments. There was also financial support to help people purchase household items and offer limited stipends towards people’s rent. HOME was a CAPS precursor.

1989

A group of individuals who had received mental health services envisioned, and implemented, a program whereby recipients of mental health services could help one another to achieve and maintain safe, secure, and affordable housing.

11/08/1990

The Consumer Drop-In Center (CDIC) was incorporated in Albany, New York.

5/19/1992

HOME was incorporated on May 19, 1992, and its name was officially changed to CLAP (Community Living Associates Program). RSS withdrew involvement from CLAP, making it a free-standing agency.

1994

Peer Bridger Team starts up. The NYAPRS Peer Bridger program, under contract with the New York State Office of Mental Health and through collaborations with local community mental health agencies and selected state psychiatric centers, has been charged to "help ease the transition into community life for individuals being discharged from New York State Psychiatric Centers and help to significantly decrease their need for readmission by offering an array of both intensive individual and group peer support services." –NYAPERS website

8/02/1995

CLAP and the Consumer Drop-in Center (CDIC) merged, creating one organization under the name of Community Living Associates Program, Inc.

1999

100 Clinton Avenue Apartment Program began. CLAP began receiving funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the 100 Clinton Avenue Supportive Apartment Program in downtown Albany.

Late 1990’s

CLAP had 40-50 people working full time and part-time positions the majority of whom were either past or current recipients of mental health services. There were numerous programs for consumers of mental health services, including the drop-in center, housing, advocacy, peer support, hospital diversion, and a peer staffed telephone non-crisis support line.

2003

CLAP Gets Hit! Drastic budget cuts were announced that resulted in a significant reorganization of services offered by the agency. Particularly hard hit were housing services and the elimination of the hospital diversion program.

2004

CLAP hangs in with approximately 22 employees and a number of volunteers.

2/06/2006

CLAP officially changed its name to Capital Area Peer Services (CAPS).

2006

CAPS grew stronger and, in response to a number of state and local program reviews, continued to improve the quality or program service delivery.

3/14/2007

Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D., was confirmed as Commissioner of NYS OMH. Hogan, noted for his work on the New Freedom Commission, is a strong proponent of consumer-based services.

10/2007

First annual two-week peer advocacy training session.

2008

CAPS partnered with the Albany County Department of Mental Health’s Community Assessment Referral And Treatment Team (CART). CART strives to provide and maintain relationships between consumers and the community at large.

3/20/2009

Death of former Executive Director, Victor Pagano.

2009

CDIC changed its name to the Victor Pagano Consumer Drop-In Center.

2009

Celebrating our 20th anniversary!

2009 LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Capital Area Peer Services, Inc.

2009

Since 2009 Capital Area Peer Services has installed new floors in the drop in center, a new kitchen, a music room, a fitness room, a clothing pantry, a household goods pantry, the walls have been painted throughout the building, new carpet has been installed twice in the administrative offices, new siding has been installed, the roof has been replaced, the back stairs to the second floor were rebuilt and painted and signage has been put up on all entrance areas.

12/2009 CAPS purchased the building at 354 Central Avenue.
  Capital Area Peer Services has engaged in contracts with Albany Med for peer advocates to work in the hospital. We were also approached and engaged in a contract with St. Catherine's for their project host, (a rapid re-housing program for high need individuals who utilize many services due to homelessness and the difficulties that accompany it). In 2011, at the request of the Albany County Director of mental health, Capital Area Peer Services began opening for a morning program in to assist members who were not appropriate for the PROS services, (personalized recovery-oriented services)and had been displaced from their usual daily activities due to the closing of the social clubs. In 2014, after the dissolution of ACCAB,(Albany County Consumer Advocacy Board), we were again approached by the Director of Albany County Department of Mental Health to contract for the peer advocates who previously were employed by ACCAB who became our community peer advocates who serve members in house and also reach out within the local community to assist.