March 5, 2015

Too Busy to Brag


Our blog has been a little quiet in 2015 and no we have not been hibernating – we have been so busy identifying and preserving distressed multifamily housing and delivering a wide range of financial services in the Northwest Bronx that we have not had time to brag about it. However, we have great photos to prove it! Thanks to a terrific volunteer photographer, Dana Ullman, who connected with us through Catch a Fire, we also have some beautiful photos to share our work and more importantly the people we work with. Below is a summary of our work with more to come on our blogTumblrFacebook and Twitter.

Preserving and Improving Multifamily Housing through the Building Indicator Project

UNHP continues to identify and share distressed multifamily buildings with lenders, public agencies, regulators and community groups. On February 11, 2015, UNHP organized a multifamily lenders roundtable meeting at the Enterprise Foundation offices attended by 25 financial institutions. In addition to sharing the individual portfolios of distressed buildings with banks, the First Deputy Commissioner and Commissioners from Code Enforcement and Preservation at HPD provided information on new preservation programs. The goal is to connect the owners of distressed properties with new renovation and preservation programs with the assistance of their lenders.

The UNHP Multifamily Assistance Center shared an analysis of the Bronx multifamily housing market as well as the BIP data on distressed apartment buildings with the 25 financial institutions in attendance.

Free Bronx Tax Preparation Program

In partnership with Ariva and Fordham Bedford Community Services, the 8th consecutive year of the UNHP Free Bronx Tax Preparation Program is well underway and has assisted over 700 Bronx residents file their taxes for free. Working with over 80 IRS VITA trained students from Fordham University, Manhattan College, and Lehman College, UNHP offers free professional tax services as well as a wide range of financial services during tax days including; free credit reports and a brief analysis, on-site benefits screening and healthcare access and the ability to sign-up for all the Northwest Bronx Resource Center services; Financial CoachingGetting Ahead Financial Education WorkshopsFirst-time Homebuyer Assistance, and Foreclosure Prevention. The UNHP tax program delivers services to other Bronx groups such as POTS and LIFT, and does special mobile tax days at local senior housing buildings, including Serviam Gardens, Rose Hill, Fiorentino Apartments and Edison Arms.

Just some of the friendly faces on-site that offer healthcare access and assistance, credit reports and analysis, public benefits screening and of course, free and professional tax filing.

More services, longer hours at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center

Thanks to a generous grant from Citi for the Northwest Bronx Economic Empowerment Project, UNHP was able to engage the services of a financial coach from The Financial Clinic for expanded and later hours starting in October of 2014. The coach provides one-on-one assistance to people in our community on a range of personal financial issues, and has worked with over 60 clients so far, achieving debt reduction, improving credit, reducing financial fees and building savings. We also continue to work with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP) to provide their signature Getting Ahead program, a 5 session financial education workshop. A class of 9 enthusiastic and financially aware participants just graduated last week and UNHP is about to begin three more classes, one in Spanish, in the next month.

In addition to evening hours for the financial coach, The Parodneck Foundation, which offers foreclosure prevention services and first-time home buyer assistance, also expanded their hours into the evening at the Resource Center.  A new partnership with Seedco and Community Service Society has enabled UNHP to provide the services of a marketplace navigator, community health advocate and public benefits screener to the people of the Northwest Bronx. Appointments for all of the services at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center can be scheduled while people are filing their taxes or over the phone.

UNHP has been working with West Farms Social Services to bring financial resources to the 526 unit 6 building complex. Pictured above, Brian Bier, UNHP’s financial coach, works with a West Farms resident in their computer lab. Tax preparation by Ariva and a Getting Ahead workshop by NTFP are some of the oth

NTFP Financial adviser, Fernando, leads the third two-hour session of Getting Ahead. Participants benefit from the efforts of the group as well as from the program curriculum and the expertise of the financial adviser.

Business Training for Family Daycare Providers with Fordham Bedford Community Services

Ada Uribe, MBA, the instructor for the specialized Fastrac childcare provider business class, engages FBCS daycare providers each week for this nine week, four hour class. Each student is developing a business growth plan.

Fordham Bedford Community Services runs a successful Early Learn Family Daycare Provider Network. The network provides quality, city subsided care to low-income families in the Northwest Bronx.  UNHP and FBCS has teamed up with NYC Small Business Services and Citi to provide an intensive business training class for interested family daycare providers in the network. 23 providers are taking the class, and working on understanding and growing their home-based businesses.

UNHP looks forward to sharing more of our work and photos with you via social media. If you or the people you work with are interested in the services available through the Northwest Bronx Resource Center call us at (718) 933-2539 to sign up for financial coaching, upcoming group workshops, to discuss debt or credit financial issues or to meet with an expert from our office.

The business class is offered by NYC’s Small Business Services and held at FBHC’s Serviam Gardens complete with high tech theater and small group meeting rooms.