Photo of Clara Riley on blue field with collage elements

Photo of Clara Riley 

Intake and Group Social Worker, Prospect Place, Center for Urban Community Services


LA ’20, SW *21

For Clara Riley, social work is more than a job. It is a daily investment in the human rights and dignities all people be able to access. Riley carries this belief with her in her work as the Intake and Group Social Worker for Prospect Place.

Prospect Place is a women’s shelter within the Center for Urban Community Services, one of the largest housing organizations in New York City, which provides transitional housing, supportive housing and mobile crisis intervention for unhoused individuals living with severe mental illness.

My favorite aspect of this program is the ‘housing first’ approach, which allows our clients to reach essential stability without harsh constraints or barriers to access,” described Riley. “I am also a strong believer that housing is a human right, and I’m humbled each and every day to be a part of the recovery and healing journey for many individuals who live at Prospect Place.”

Riley’s combined interests in social justice, harm reduction and advocacy led her to pursue a Master of Social Work degree, which opened up a plethora of opportunities for her to engage with communities on a variety of levels.

During her time at Tulane, Riley was selected to participate in Newcomb Institute’s Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Internship Program and worked as an intern with the New Orleans Abortion Fund.

“Having the opportunity to learn about a variety of social issues and injustices through the academic aspects of Tulane was integral in developing my understanding of intersectionality and oppression,” expressed Riley. “My experiences working with nonprofits in the New Orleans ­­community also inspired me to continue exploring social work following my graduation.”

In the future, Riley hopes to continue to be on the frontlines of progressive change and become more involved in policy reform on a national level.