November 5, 2015

West Farms Votes Yes for Financial Security


West Farms Social Services and UNHP were on the ballot this Election Day to offer a financial security workshop in the community room of the eight building, 526 unit complex known as West Farms Square Plaza.

With a focus on preventing identity theft and protecting your money, the financial security workshop offered a range of financial services to the tenants of West Farms Square and surrounding buildings. Popular Community Bank offered two half-hour workshops on protecting your financial information. Ariva provided the services of an on-site financial coach who worked with attendees to obtain their credit report and review the results. Sarah Altagracia of Operation Hope engaged attendees around home-ownership options and HUD-certified counseling in the West Farms community. idNYC provided on-the spot scheduling for appointments to obtain this popular form of photo identification. Over twenty West Farms and NYCHA residents attended the workshop, four people met with the financial coach, twelve obtained information or assistance about idNYC and 10 people participated in the financial security workshops.

Pictured above,Yaniris Nunez, Branch Manager of the nearby Popular Community Bank East Tremont branch, gets ready to review ways to prevent and address identity theft. She was assisted by Haysey Yepez and Daisy Alba throughout the presentation. Popular Community Bank was prepared to open affordable checking and savings accounts on-site.

Mouhamed Kaba of idNYC was the most sought-after man in the West Farms Community Room. The NYC Identification Card is a new municipal ID card issued by the City of New York that comes with many benefits, including library access, free membership to many NYC institutions and a widely accepted form of photo identification open to all regardless of immigration status. Pictured above, Mouhamed assists a West Farms resident understand the benefits of the card which include free membership to the Bronx Zoo, just blocks away from West Farms.

Daniel Brenner, Ariva’s financial coach, assists a resident by analyzing her credit report. Ariva provided on-site financial coaching for the workshop and was able to assist people obtain and review their credit reports. One gentleman shared his story of having his identity stolen while in the hospital by an employee and again at a later date. After the workshop, he was able to meet with the financial coach, make an additional appointment and is on his way towards restoring his financial security.

Sara of Operation Hope spoke about Hope-Inside – a full-service HUD-certified home-buyer counseling program located inside the Popular Community Bank branch.

Norsy Jimenez, pictured above, is the Director of West Farms Social Services, a site location of Fordham Bedford Community Services. West Farms Social Services offers exercise classes for seniors, after-school programming for children and has worked consistently with UNHP to bring financial services to West Farms. UNHP hosted a well-attended home-buyer fair over the summer, participated in a spring fair for tenants and assists at an Ariva on-site tax preparation day. West Farms Square is co-owned by Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation and UNHP. Renovation of the complex was completed in 2014 and includes new boilers, bathrooms, kitchens and public areas. West Farms was featured by the Daily News in 2012 as one of the best affordable places to live in NYC. The photo above shows children in the West Farms summer program playing in the sprinklers in one of the three renovated parks in the West Farms complex.