July 5, 2017

UNHP Pops Up at Local Banks, Branch Openings & Bronx Neighborhoods

by UNHP

UNHP delivered our free financial and affordable housing services to 71 Bronx bank customers at six branches, attended the Grand Openings of three new Bronx bank branches ( yes, 3 NEW branches!) and assisted 69 Bronxites at two off-site events in the past 5 months.

Santander Bank, TD Bank and M&T Bank all opened new Bronx branches in 2017; the new Santander Bank branch, their second in the Bronx, is located on 149th Street, TD Bank opened their fourth Bronx bank branch on the corner of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road, and M&T Bank opened their first Bronx branch on the Grand Concourse. UNHP happily welcomes the addition of bank branches, their bilingual bank staff and the range of low- and no-cost banking products they provide to our borough, which is underserved by traditional bank products. UNHP receives support and has partnered with all three banks; Santander Bank provided a three session homebuyer series and assisted tax filers with the printing of credit reports, TD Bank offered credit review assistance as well as account openings at tax time and long-time supporter M&T Bank, works with UNHP and its Multifamily Assistance Center. The new branches are featured in UNHP’s Banking Guide, which offers information to Bronx residents on every Bronx branch locations and products, also available in Spanish & French.

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Top left, Jim Buckley welcomes M&T Bank to the Bronx! Reminiscing about picketing branch closings in the 70’s, Jim said he would much rather celebrate a branch opening than protest a closing. Top right, UNHP was awarded TD Bank grant support for our work to bring financial and housing resources to our community at the TD Bank branch opening and community celebration on the Grand Concourse. Bottom left, UNHP staff pose with the branch manager of M&T’s first Bronx branch. Bottom right, Santander Bank proudly cuts the ribbon for its new Bronx branch on 149th Street.

Working with local bank branches, UNHP held six successful “Pop Up” days to provide on-the spot assistance and appointment scheduling for the wide range of interconnecting free financial and affordable housing services we offer at the nearby Northwest Bronx Resource Center. Amalgamated Bank, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Apple Bank for Savings, TD Bank, Capital One and Citibank selected days to offer UNHP services at the branch and did outreach to their customers. On the Pop Up day, UNHP arrived with trained bilingual NWBRC staff, laptops, handouts, NYC Rent Freeze applications and information to refer to other local service providers, and schedule eviction prevention, homeowner help and financial coaching appointments. The Pop Up days helped us meet new people, serve branch customers, and enhance our partnership with the bank. UNHP would like banks to refer customers that need our free financial services, such as credit review and financial coaching; to that end, UNHP has scheduled two days just for local bank customers to obtain 1:1 financial coaching at the NWBRC.

During the six Pop Up days, UNHP assisted 71 bank customers, many of whom received on-the-spot assistance and a follow-up appointment at the NWBRC. UNHP is currently working with 30 of the bank customers we met during our Pop Up days around housing (11) and financial (19) issues.

UNHP Pops Up! UNHP provided a day of on-site services and assistance for banking customers at local branches in April, May and June. From left, Apple Bank for Savings, TD Bank, Citibank, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Amalgamated Bank and Capital One.
UNHP Pops Up! UNHP provided a day of on-site services and assistance for banking customers at local branches in April, May and June. From left, Apple Bank for Savings, TD Bank, Citibank, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Amalgamated Bank and Capital One.

In addition to popping up at bank branches, UNHP collaborated with Ariva’s Ready to Rent Program and other local partners to bring our services to the northwest Bronx neighborhoods of University/Morris Heights at Ariva’s offices on West Tremont Avenue and The Mary Mitchell Center in the Bronx neighborhood of Crotona. On June 6th and June 14th, UNHP organized these two well-attended financial and affordable housing events with access to NYC Housing Connect (the NYC affordable housing online lottery system), NYC Rent Freeze, 1:1 financial coaching, SNAP benefits and eviction prevention services. Ariva’s Ready to Rent program was an important part of each event and is designed to provide essential financial coaching services to those applying for NYC affordable housing to ensure that they understand their household income, have a plan for savings and are ready to rent if the opportunity arises. Along with UNHP and Ariva, Part of the Solution (POTS), NYC Tenant Support Unit, NYC Department of Finance and staff from the Mary Mitchell Community Center, provided assistance to 69 people who attended the events.

During these two events, UNHP created 49 new Housing Connect profiles, completed over 140 affordable housing lotteries applications, started 4 SCRIE/DRIE applications, and provided 20 financial coaching sessions and credit assessments via Ariva.

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Affordable Housing and Financial Empowerment Events were held in conjunction with Ariva’s Ready to Rent program at the Ariva offices in University/Morris Heights neighborhood and at the Mary Mitchell Center for Families and Youth in Crotona.
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