Hull House Closing Today – Story is Still Opaque but is the Meaning of the Institution Still Strong?

Print Share on LinkedIn More

January 27, 2012; Source: NPR | NPQ is sad to note the closing of the historic Jane Addams Hull House, the first settlement house in the country and a model for thousands of community-building organizations to follow.

This is a link to an NPR story on the topic, but the story is still quite incomplete. Watch NPQ for more on this, and we would love to hear your reactions. What does Hull House mean to you? –Ruth McCambridge

  • Debra

    I am glad to see this reported and look forward to further insights. Please correct the typo in the short piece, though. The organization’s name is “Jane Addams….,” Not JAMES. Thanks!

  • R. Ruth Linden, Ph.D

    Here are a link to a somewhat informative story and an excerpt:

    While Jane Addams and Hull House are known for establishing the settlement movement and the field of social work, they are less widely recognized for their integral role in creating, alongside their male counterparts at the University of Chicago, the field of sociology in America.

    The closing of Hull House is a tragedy of the first order.

    “…Hull House board chairman Steve Saunders said the bad economy was the blame for the closing.

    “The board has worked for the past two years analyzing every opportunity to save and trim costs, increase funding, but we were trapped by a very bad economy,” Saunders said.

    About 300 Hull House employees will be displaced. Some blame mismanagement and neglect for the charity’s demise. When the doors close Friday, employees say they’re walking out without severance pay, health insurance or owed vacation time.

    Employees say they knew there were financial problems but they didn’t know they would be losing their jobs this week.

    “Yea, the economy is bad, the fundraising is bad, but other agencies have functioned through that,” said Hull House employee Naomi Samuels. “The tragedy is some people are so low on the pay scale they are the ones who find themselves needing the services we used to provide.”

    Said employee Addison Wright, “People have been cut to four days, we’ve been on furlough. I mean we’ve done what they’ve asked us to do. I mean who makes the decisions? Who manages the money? How did her legacy come to this? I’m unemployed.”

  • Tom Tresser

    Here is a link to my coverage of this disaster from Huffington Post Chicago –

  • David Wallace

    The history of Hull House put Chicago on the map in terms of the social services movement by establishing the first settlement house and the study of sociology at University of Chicago. Across the street from the University of Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary took a leadership role in the social gospel movement among the churches. Jane Addams and her contemporaries in the Seminary such as Professor Graham Taylor were greatly influential in American Protestant Churches.