February 24, 2014

UNHP Takes Tax Prep on the Road


Serviam Gardens

In addition to our tax days held at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center at Refuge House, UNHP takes our free tax prep program on the road to accommodate Bronx seniors living in local partner senior housing developments.  The senior or HUD 202 Housing offers affordable, independent-living rental units for low income senior citizens. UNHP partners with Rose Hill ApartmentsServiam Gardens, Edison Arms and Msgr. Fiorentino Apartments.

Our first senior mobile day was held at Serviam Gardens, developed by Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) on the sprawling and lush grounds of the Mt. St. Ursula Campus, a convent and Catholic girl’s high school. FBHC, the largest community sponsored housing corporation in New York City, manages Serviam Gardens and provides homes and social services to 286 low-income seniors.  In addition to using state of the art green technology and energy conservation measures in the construction and ongoing maintenance, Serviam Gardens also offers a movie theater, computer lab, exercise room, community spaces, a rooftop garden, and a wellness center. UNHP was able to assist 50 seniors in filing their taxes at Serviam on February 12, 2014.  Below are some of the great people we met:

Joicelyn is retired from the College of New Rochelle (CNR), but at age 71, she still has a love of learning. She did general office work for CNR and used the opportunity for free tuition to earn her bachelor’s degree in 2002. She went on to take many classes towards a graduate degree in social work, but had to quit once her eyesight failed her. She has six grown children who share her love of education and her youngest just earned her PHd. Joicelyn was born in St. Lucia and lived in New York City when she came here as an adult. “I love Serviam. It is neat and clean and my apartment is very nice” She misses the Carribean, but has many friends in Serviam including a new friend from the island of St. Thomas.

Juan, a new Serviam tenant, was born in Puerto Rico and lived in the Bronx in the Tremont section. Last year his taxes were filed incorrectly and this year he was “happy to get my taxes done right in the lobby of his building.” Juan lives alone, but relies on his nephew to help him out. Juan also appreciates the social and wellness services provided at Serviam.

Jai, a Korean-speaking social service worker, assists a group of Korean Serviam residents.

Nikki assists a die-hard Yankee fan fill out the intake forms.

William and Liselle work for Fordham Bedford Community Services and provide citizenship and computer services to residents of Serviam. William is a quality reviewer for the UNHP Tax Program.

UNHP staff and student volunteers assist residents in the Serviam computer lab.