I work in the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing program in the Bronx.
We see anywhere from 20 to 30 families a day. First, the family meets with people from the Dept. of Homeless Services. They do an intake interview, which lasts several hours.
There’s been an increase in homeless families during my last four or five years. Some people lost their jobs. It could be an issue of domestic violence. It’s a variety of reasons.
There’re people that come to us from other states. We have families from Florida and Texas, after Hurricane Harvey.
After the intake interview with DHS, they come to me. We have another Family Worker here too. We make sure the family has access to transportation, so they get a seven-day unlimited MetroCard.
If their kids haven’t gotten their vaccination shots, we make an appointment for them. The kids also get a backpack with school supplies, notebooks, pens, pencils and rulers. And we help them get registered in school.
To be able to help these families gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I think we could help a lot more people if we had more staff. They’re supposed to be hiring another person soon.
Being a DC 37 member has helped me a lot, especially with my education.
I graduated from the College of New Rochelle, the DC 37 campus, with a bachelor’s degree two years ago.
From my job I would take the train to the campus downtown. It was very convenient. And being a union member I was eligible for financial assistance. Now I’m working on my master’s degree in mental health counseling at Alfred University.