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What city voices is All About 

MISSION: To empower our peers to live full and active lives by providing information, resources and a means to participate in the community.

VISION: An organized community of our peers in behavioral health, who can partner with like-minded groups to fight in improving our lives.

WHEN It all started

In 1995, City Voices’ founder, the late Ken Steele, decided to print a couple of pages stapled together and call it a newsletter for his clinic The Park Slope Center for Mental Health in Brooklyn, New York. He included peer poetry, opinion pieces and personal recovery stories. Ken later went on to found the Mental Health Voter Empowerment Project (MHVEP) which registered thousands of peers diagnosed as mentally ill to vote and educated them on the candidates in order to make an informed decision at the polls. While MHVEP grew, so did his newsletter, becoming a newspaper called New York City Voices, reaching thousands of peers with information they could use. His voter project drew massive media attention, notably making the cover page of The New York Times twice and he received a call from the then First Lady Hillary Clinton who was running for Senate at the time. She probably thought that he could influence thousands of registered voters, but his project was non-partisan and left the decision-making to the voters themselves. Ken died in 2000 at the too-young age of 52 and MHVEP seemed to die with him, but his newspaper did not.

where we are today

Many years later, New York City Voices was renamed City Voices under the leadership of Dan Frey, Ken’s protege. Dan kept the paper afloat for 15 years since the death of his mentor with the help of his peers and many other members of the community. Now City Voices is partnering with the Peer Workforce Coalition (PWC) and serves as “the newspaper for peers and the peer workforce” with articles of interest to peers both working and not working. Voices partners with legal, grassroots, government, non-profit and peer-run organizations to provide content that inspires, educates, and empowers. We have developed a social media presence and are working toward building a social community of peers that can support and network with one another. Voices has an editorial board of individuals dedicated to our mission and vision. Some of the worst things that can happen to people after a diagnosis are self-stigmatization, isolation, apathy and disconnection from the community. The City Voices project intends to help people in these circumstances.


  • Empower our peers with confidence to take on the world

  • Provide information of benefit to the peer workforce

  • Provide hope for recovery

  • Provide news you can use

  • Provide content for wellness

  • Encourage community participation

  • Enhance advocacy skills