Maria Toledo, Director
The Bridge Fund of New York City
A Program of The Bridge Fund of New York Inc.
Homelessness Prevention for the Working Poor of New York City's Five Boroughs
Despite recent economic improvements, too many New Yorkers still do not have enough income to meet their basic needs. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement, 940,000 households, or 42% of New York City residents, cannot afford their rent, food, utilities, and other expenses even though 83% percent have household members that work. It is not surprising, herefore, that the New York City program received over 700 referrals each month during 2014. Most faced imminent eviction because they owed rent–some because of temporary nemployment or costly medical bills. Too many, however, simply did not earn enough, despite holding two or more jobs.
So that as many households as possible could qualify for our financial assistance, The Bridge Fund staff helped many apply for public benefits that would enhance their financial profiles and ability to maintain their housing long-term. For the 675 households whose finances could be improved sufficiently, the program provided budget counseling and $1,101,024 as interest-free loans and grants to pay rental arrears. Average client assistance was only $1,631–a significant savings over shelter placement, which, is $38,000 a year for a family.The Court Navigator Program
The most common type of proceeding in Housing Court is a landlord suing a tenant for non-payment of rent. Yet 99% of tenants have no attorney and face the real possibility of losing their apartments and becoming homeless. The Court Navigator Program, administered by Housing Court Answers and University Settlement, provides information to unrepresented tenants appearing in Kings County Housing Court in Brooklyn.
Two Bridge Fund case workers each volunteered 30 hours to help anxious tenants complete court forms and access court interpreters. As a result of our participation in the Court Navigator Program, a number of these households were found eligible for Bridge Fund services in 2014.Other Activities
The New York City program leveraged $454,613 from public and private agencies on behalf of our clients to resolve their rental arrears. We provided 4,725 hours of individual budget counseling and enrolled 441 applicants for e-budgeting, an electronic listserv that enables our Director of Budget Counseling to remain in touch with former clients. Several Money Management workshops were conducted in some of the city’s poorest communities, including Hunts Point, Far Rockaway, and Central Harlem. The comprehensive services we provide help to ensure that 90% or more of those receiving our financial assistance are in their homes one year after our intervention.
In the coming years, we must continue to address the diverse needs of older clients. By 2030, it is expected that seniors will constitute 20% or more of New York City’s population. Seniors are leading longer and healthier lives, and want to remain active and engaged in their communities. Our Rent Subsidy Program for Pre-Retirement Workers helps clients hold on to their housing while connecting them with outside resources that further their goals. In 2014, a total of 59 senior households received $56,457 in rent subsidies.
We commend our social service colleagues at Coalition for the Homeless, Housing Court Answers, Catholic Charities and the Human Resources Administration, to mention a few. Our special thanks goes to New York City Council Members Annabel Palma and Mark Levine, and to all the generous donors whose support makes our work possible.
The Bridge Fund of New York City
|ASSISTANCE||Individals (includes children)||1505|
|FINANCIALS||Bridge Fund Financial Assistance||$1,101,024|
|Total Amount Mobilized||2,100,659|
|REPAYMENTS||Number of Repayments||3,584|
In NYC, our average assistance is $1,631 per household.
Our clients pay 40% of their net income on rent
Of our clients, 34% are children.
President, City Employees Union Local 237
Angela Hollis, MBA
President Hollis Group, LLC; Formerly Director of Advancement, New York City Mission Society
Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Director of Eviction Prevention and Housing Education, Catholic Charities
Attorney, New York University Law School
Copyright 2015 The Bridge Fund of New York Inc.