Our Story

Located in the scenic Hudson Valley of New York, The Academy House Community Residence (AHCR) is an 18-bed residence in the historic district of Poughkeepsie. We are a Level II program, licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Academy House specializes in creating a supportive, empathetic environment for adults over the age of 24 who are living with severe and persistent mental health diagnoses. We provide a structured yet home-like atmosphere with 24/7 supervision and medication management. Academy House is one of the few long-term residential housing options available for individuals who require ongoing supervision and care in NY. Our facility has been caring for individuals with mental illness for over 45 years.

We strongly believe that every person can live a happy, healthy, and productive life. We treat all residents with the dignity and compassion they deserve to increase their self-confidence as they continue on the path to learning new ways to manage their diagnoses. "We are a Family Serving Families" is more than just our motto – we provide our residents with the same care and respect we give to our own families.

As proud members of the American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA) we are fortunate to have a large network of other programs available if it is determined that a different level of care is more suitable for you or your family member. We are happy to go over your options with you.

Everyone can live
a happy life.

Meet the Team

Academy House chooses staff not just for their credentials, but for their kindness, compassion, creativity, and dedication to supporting people with mental illnesses. Our team is comprised of people who have professional backgrounds in mental health care, as well as artists, chefs, yoga instructors, musicians, teachers, gardeners, and dancers. Each individual is encouraged to bring their own personal strengths and interests to enrich the therapeutic environment that our community residence provides.


Ben Howard, Owner, learned the importance of creating a meaningful program for individuals with mental illness at an early age. When Ben was young, his father started Academy House’s sister program at Woodstock Manor. Having grown up in the business, and having family members who have struggled with mental illness, Ben’s dedication is reflected in the quality of care that residents receive at Academy House. After a successful career in the Medical Device Industry, Ben left the corporate world to re-dedicate himself to caring for people with mental illnesses. He and his wife Olivia have owned and operated AHCR since 2010. Ben is also passionate about music and enjoys the playing guitar and teaching his 6 year old daughter piano. Ben may be reached at ben@theacademyhouse.com or (845) 505 - 4961.


Olivia Howard, Owner.  Olivia holds a B.A. in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She has always been passionate about working in the field of mental health. Our “Family Serving Families” approach to caring for residents and their families is reflective of Olivia’s commitment to providing exceptional services. Olivia can be reached at olivia@theacademyhouse.com or (845) 505-4962.


Gillian Hammond, M.S., serves as the House Manager at Academy House Community Residence. Gillian holds an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, an Advanced Certificate in Trauma and Disaster Mental Health, and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz. She also has a background in crisis counseling, disaster studies, and studio art. At Academy House, Gillian is dedicated to creating an empathic and therapeutic environment to facilitate personal growth and support each individual in attaining their goals. Gillian has lived in the neighboring town of New Paltz for 10 years. She is interested in the therapeutic nature of animals and enjoys hiking in local state parks and fiber arts. Gillian can be reached at gillian@theacademyhouse.com .


Marcelle Urban, M.A., is originally from the United Kingdom. She has an M.A. in Special Education and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Marcelle has studied Arts in Medicine at Florida State University, and Laban Movement Therapy at the Laban Institute. She has been part of various community theater groups in NYC and has taught movement and dance and chair yoga at the Capital District for the Arts. Marcelle continues to advance her studies in movement and dance, and is in the process of completing a DanceAbility training certificate. Marcelle’s other hobbies include traveling and animal rescue.


Anreka Gordon holds a M.S. in Public Administration and a B.S. in Business Administration from Binghamton University. Anreka developed a passion for caring for others and engaging in public service at a young age, as she was raised in a family that was very engaged in the care-giving industry. Anreka has nearly a decade of experience in providing compassionate care for individuals with developmental disabilities. She has a heart for people, and a desire for all to feel loved in her presence. In her spare time, Anreka enjoys photography, videography, and spending time with family.


Mina Metreaud holds a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Human Services from SUNY New Paltz, where she is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling. Mina is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC-T), with experience working in substance abuse inpatient rehabilitation centers and youth shelters. Mina’s international experience includes working at The Barli Institute for Rural Women in India, The Guaymi Indian community in Costa Rica, and the Medical Brigade service in Honduras. Mina is dedicated to continuing her education and working in mental health care.


Avery Maracek holds a B.A. in Organizational Communication from SUNY New Paltz. He is an avid musician, having played guitar for 10 years and drums for 17 years. A resident of New Paltz, Avery has an interest in the therapeutic nature of the outdoors that the Hudson Valley provides. He was drawn to Academy House by the historic nature of the building, having grown up in the antique and restoration business. At Academy House, Avery specializes in preserving the historic, homelike atmosphere of our facility.


Elizabeth Wilson is currently enrolled in the Mental Health Counseling M.S. program at SUNY New Paltz. She holds a B.A. in psychology from SUNY New Paltz with a minor in disaster studies, which she received in 2017. Elizabeth has experience in substance use outpatient counseling and working with individuals with epilepsy and developmental or intellectual disabilities. Elizabeth uses art and educational self-care activities to increase self-esteem and independence.


Andy Rose Rinaldo currently runs a small-scale Ecological Gardening business in which she implements sustainable, resilient design concepts that are intended to give back to the individual as well as the land. Andy has Horticulture Therapy training through the New York Botanical Garden, and has taken part in a variety of volunteer gardening projects, including working with inmates on Riker’s Island in the Greenhouse Program. Andy has over a decade of organic growing experience, education in Herbal Medicine, and experience in Floral Design. She has studied at the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism and Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. Andy is dedicated to helping people understand their connection to Nature as an essential form of healing.


Camile Johnson is a Direct Care Aide with over 10 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses. She became a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2009 and developed a passion for providing support and care to people with special needs, including assisting individuals with activities of daily living. She places an emphasis on creating a sense of safety and comfort which is reflected in her patient and compassionate nature.


Ashley Korin is currently studying English and Environmental Geochemical Science at SUNY New Paltz. She has experience volunteering with local agencies including the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary and the Kingston Farmer’s Market. Ashley has also been involved with Students for Sustainable Agriculture at SUNY New Paltz. In her free time, Ashley enjoys researching the nature of the coexistence of animals, humans, and our environment.


At Academy House, we believe every person deserves dignity and compassion to increase their self-confidence, as they learn new and different ways to manage their illness.

- Ben Howard

Phone: 845.505.4961     Fax: 845.625.1512     124 Academy Street, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601