Our History and Bronx Community

Founded in 1974 to fill the need for vital social services in The Bronx, VIP plays a key role in sustaining life in the community.

Inspired and led by Father Robert Banome, residents and community leaders in the East Tremont/Crotona section of the Bronx joined together to grapple with the neighborhood’s most pressing problems: poverty, safety, family disintegration, drug abuse, unemployment, and housing abandonment. Vocational Instruction Project (VIP), became a safe place where individuals could get help with their addiction, learn a vocation or trade, and get back on their feet.

VIP’s first endeavor was an innovative approach to outpatient drug treatment — serving individuals seeking rehabilitation from drug addiction in an atmosphere of support and mutual respect. The organization meets its clients with respect and without judgment, supporting them in the process of transforming their lives wherever they may be on the road to giving up a life of substance abuse. This environment enables radical lifestyle change that allows VIP clients to reunite with their families and the community.

VIP has long recognized that for treatment to be successful long term, the drug lifestyle has to be replaced with positive elements — education, health care, mental health care, job training, life skills and work opportunities. VIP’s diverse treatment programs were — and remain – integrated. VIP is dedicated to empowering its clients with the tools they need to become self-sufficient.

VIP continues to grow dynamically to meet the changing needs of its clients and the neighborhoods it serves, all in the context of an evolving political and economic landscape. This includes:

  • A profound belief in the strengths and the ability of individuals and families to transform themselves and become self-sufficient
  • The ongoing need to surround individuals with the services and supports they need
  • A rigorous business approach that stresses partnerships and makes the very most of both public and private resources

The Bronx is the poorest urban county in the nation.

As a non-profit headquartered in the Bronx, VIP provides a full continuum of social service care to those who are most vulnerable and underserved. VIP serves approximately 7,000 clients per year through residential care, outpatient counseling, shelter care, medical services, medically supervised intervention programs, housing, and employment services. Our organization continues to expand as a Federally Qualified Health Center and a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic.

VIP addresses the consequences of extreme poverty.

VIP’s humble beginnings with 8 staff providing housing and job training in the church basement has grown to become a full service agency with more than 460 employees and a full array of critical services.