Last week in New York, representatives of Popular Community Bank met with leaders from eight wonderful organizations from the local communities to deliver grants from the Popular Community Bank Foundation.
One of the organizations making an incredible impact is Housing and Services, Inc.
Housing and Services, Inc. (HSI) is a nonprofit that has been working for over 25 years in New York City to end chronic homelessness and help those at risk of displacement through the operation and development of permanent supportive housing.
“Permanent supportive housing, the model we work on, has been tried and true,” said Executive Director James Dill. “There is over 20 years of documentation to support that this is not only the most humane way of dealing with chronic homelessness, it’s also the most cost-effective way as well.”
Since initially opening the 89-unit Cecil Hotel in 1988, HSI has grown to 615 units today. They manage three properties – the Cecil Hotel, the Narragansett and Kenmore Manor – that provide permanent, supportive housing for low-income men and women coming out of the NYC shelter system, individuals with special needs, people living with HIV/AIDS, and homeless veterans.
Part of their services is their RISE Program, which is a lifelong learning program that reintroduces adult learners to an educational/social environment through classes and activities. They learn writing, computer science, group support, life skills, public performance, and self-directed educational enrichment.
In 2011, entered another arrangement.
“Another big event for us was obtaining a 100-unit scatter site contract in 2011,” said Dill. “Those are projects for folks that don’t require the intensive 24/7 services they get in congregate housing projects – Kenmore, Cecil, Narragansett – but they still need help in terms of working with land lords. Under this model, we get 100 leases with 25 different land lords in upper Manhattan and the Bronx and we help our clients stay in those apartments.”
Dill added that HSI has 75 individuals and 25 families where the head of household has HIV/AIDS in the scatter site program today.
As Deputy Executive Director Molly Mattimore indicated, there is an increased need for family services right now.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve identified other areas of need,” Mattimore said. “The trend that we’ve seen in the shelter system recently is families languishing in shelters. With our scatter site program we’ve been very deliberate in trying to expand our services to families.”
Popular Community Bank has had the pleasure of working with HSI on multiple occasions. And late last year, the fortuitous timing of Make A Difference Day helped HSI in a moment of dire need.
“The Saturday before Super Storm Sandy was Make A Difference Day,” recalled Dill. “Popular Community Bank employees came and fully stocked the food pantry at Kenmore to overflowing. That was on Saturday; on Monday, Kenmore was in the district of New York city where the power went out.”
“A 23-story building without power, light, heat, elevators, running water for the toilets,” he continued. “We were able – through the dedication of our staff – to keep the tenants in place and keep them safe and calm and didn’t have to evacuate the building. A huge factor in that was the food; we were able to keep everybody fed.”
We look forward to the future of our great relationship with HSI in the future as they continue making an impact in the community.