Bronx residents came out in large numbers to attend the Sunday, June 14th Immigration and Financial Services Resource Fair held in the Parish Center of Our Lady of Refuge (OLR). Many of the over 250 attendees were OLR parishioners, while others were from the surrounding neighborhoods of Bedford Park, Fordham, and Norwood. The event co-sponsored by Our Lady of Refuge Parish, Fordham Bedford Community Services, and University Neighborhood Housing Program, provided a range of on-the-spot assistance from 13 community groups, political representatives, banks and NYCity Agencies that included free credit reports, enrollment in ESL classes, immigration information, public benefits screening, voter registration, bank account information and services. Thank you to Dana Ullman for donating her time and professional photography services at the event.
In addition to organizing the event, UNHP, FBCS and OLR all took an active part in the Fair, providing services, participating in the workshops and offering translation assistance. UNHP provided access to free credit reports and consultations with a financial coach as well as information and appointments for services at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center at Refuge House; one-on-one financial coaching, benefits screening, healthcare access and group financial education workshops. Twenty-two Bronx residents obtained their free credit report at the Fair and a brief credit analysis. Fordham Bedford Community Services, in addition to a wide range of programming for children and students, also offers free ESL classes, citizenship test preparation and immigration services. OLR promoted the Fair at its Spanish language Masses, provided the newly renovated parish center for the Fair and arranged for the food preparation by OLR group, the Cursillistas.
Exit surveys and interviews provided positive feedback about the Fair. 30 attendees made idNYC appointments, 22 people obtained their credit reports, and others made follow-up appointments for financial coaching, benefits and healthcare screening, as well as legal services.
Immigration and Financial Services Resource Fair Participating Groups and Day of Fair Available Services: