The term â€œlazy days of summer" does not fit the days here at UNHP. Busy, exciting, productiveâ€”all of those would be more fitting adjectives. Below youâ€™ll find some of the highlights and we hope youâ€™ll be able to join us for our celebration in September.
Preserving Affordable Housing through Water Rate Reform
If you have worked with UNHP for any length of time, you know we are pretty passionate about water rates. The rising cost of water, steadily increasing since 1984 and tripling in the past 15 years, places a heavy burden on tight operating budgets and dampens the ability to create new affordable housing. Thanks to water rates that rival heating costs, UNHPâ€™s new research and our proposal for a water rate cap for affordable housing, the need to address escalating water rates and its impact seems to be garnering more consensus and attention.
On June 24th, UNHP held a Cost of Water Forum at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus to begin the next phase of discussion about UNHP's proposal to make the charge for water and sewer more equitable for affordable housing. Panelists from The S.W.I.M. Coalition, and Enterprise Community Partners discussed their work around the issue of water, equitable rates and conservation. The Cost of Water Forum was just one of the many actions UNHP has taken this spring to bring parties together to discuss the water rate system. In addition to attending and testifying at water board hearings, conferences and affordable housing meetings, UNHP discussed the issue with the media. WNYC ran a week-long series on water in June, including UNHP and its work, and City Limits also covered the issue.
The forum is an important next step in the discussion and the effort to develop a new way of charging affordable housing for water. Comments at the May New York City Water Board meeting made it clear that the UNHP report has helped to focus City attention on this issue. UNHP hopes to capitalize on this attention and to work with city agencies, community groups and affordable housing partners to press the issue forward over the summer.
Reaching out to Immigrant Neighborhood Residents
Did you know that the northwest Bronx has replaced Washington Heights as home to the largest Dominican-born population outside of the Dominican Republic? Population is growing in the Bronx and has been fueled by new immigrants. In the last 15 years, the Bronx added more people (52,458) than any other NYC borough, bringing the total up to 1,385,108, an increase of 3.9% and closing in on the boroughâ€™s peak population in 1970. About one-third of Bronx residents are foreign born and the percent of immigrants is rising faster in the Bronx than any other Borough.
Fordham Bedford Community Services, Our Lady of Refuge (OLR) Parish and UNHP have long provided a variety of services for Spanish-speaking residents and immigrant neighborhood residents - OLR offers a Spanish-language Catholic Mass that started in the mid 1970â€™s, FBCS has provided immigrant services for over 20 years and all the financial services, including free tax preparation, out of UNHP's Northwest Bronx Resource Center are offered in Spanish and English. On June 14th, these three organizations came together to host an Immigration and Financial Services Resource Fair that was attended by over 250 people. The Fair, held at the OLR Parish Center, offered a range of on-the-spot assistance from 13 community groups, political representatives, banks and New York City Agencies that included free credit reports, enrollment in ESL classes, immigration information, public benefits screening, voter registration, bank account information and legal services. In addition to the ability to get information and direct services from the groups in attendance, about 35 individuals attended two informative Spanish language workshops: an immigration workshop led by Catholic Charities and Bronx Legal Services, and a money management workshop with an explanation of English language banking and financial terms led by Jumelia Abrahamson of UNHP and Guillermo Zepeda from OLR.
Help for Homeowners and Homebuyers
UNHPâ€™s Homebuyer Seminar held on June 18th drew over 35 interested homebuyers who were able to sign up for free 1:1 Homebuyer Counseling offered out of UNHPâ€™s Northwest Bronx Resource Center, and learn about low-cost loans, grants and mortgage basics from Capital One, HSBC, Citi, UNHP and The Parodneck Foundation. An Open House, with the opportunity to meet with Parodneckâ€™s HUD-Certified counselors, was held on July 24th at West Farms for both current homeowners and prospective buyers. Counselors saw 20 homeowners and prospective buyers; for more information on any of our programs, please call 718-933-2539.
Thank you to the many partners that have make this another successful year for UNHP in pursuit of our mission to create and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to our community. We have much to celebrate this year and hope that you will join us at the Bronx Beer Hall on Wednesday, September 16th to raise a glass â€“ our specially imprinted UNHP beer glass â€“ of course. The Bronx Beer Hall offers local craft brewed beers, the retail market setting, coal fired brick oven pizzas from Johnâ€™s of Arthur Avenue and an original menu with pub specialties and classic Italian fare curated by Chef David Greco of Mikeâ€™s Deli notoriety.
There is still time to become a Sponsor and get your name on our beer glasses. Sponsorship levels are as follows:
UNHP Bronx Beer Hall Fundraiser
â€¢ Cask Supporter: $2,500 includes 6 tickets
â€¢ Keg Supporter: $1,500 includes 4 tickets
â€¢ Growler Supporter: $800 includes 2 tickets
â€¢ Pint Supporter: $400 includes 1 ticket
Click here for the Sponsor and Ticket forms, or to buy tickets online visit our donate page.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on September 16th at the Bronx Beer Hall!