With the pandemic hurting families financially this past year, people are now struggling more than ever. Sensing this, one lawmaker stepped up to the plate. On June 16, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, a Democrat, announced the allocation of New York state funding to Children’s Aid to support work being done in the Bronx to help low-income families combat poverty.
In 2016, the Bronx was identified as one of 16 regions across the state to participate in the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), locally known as Bronx Impact. Bronx Impact is convened by Children’s Aid, in close partnership with the Borough President’s office.
“This work is helping connect individuals and families at or near poverty with the resources they need, whether it be housing assistance, emergency food assistance, access to health care, transportation, workforce development and educational assistance,” Fernandez said. “Young Bronxites deserve better opportunities that support them in breaking the cycles of poverty that have been unduly placed upon them. I am humbled to provide funding to Children’s Aid NYC in their efforts and work with them as we uplift the future of our state.”
One of Bronx Impact’s signature programs is my.BronxImpact.org, an online resource directory that lists more than 4,000 Bronx-based services and programs. Residents can get help in their neighborhood by entering their zip code and search terms. In 2020, my.BronxImpact.org supported the connection of more than 12,000 Bronxites to services in their area.
Among the people who are on the front lines of fighting child poverty is Rose DeStefano, senior director of Collective Impact at Children’s Aid.
DeStefano told the Bronx Times that her organization doesn’t just hand out laptops and meals, but also deals with things at the policy level pertaining to digital equity, food access and open space.
According to DeStefano, poverty has plagued the Bronx, specifically the south Bronx for several years and the financial boost from Fernandez can help Children’s Aid keep doing its job.
“We cannot thank Assemblywoman Fernandez enough for her support and belief in the important work we are doing to ensure that every individual and family in the Bronx can self-determine their future with dignity and respect,” DeStefano said. “The pandemic only amplified the need for connectivity here the Bronx, and we have so much more work to do. This funding ensures that this important work can continue at a time when the Bronx needs it most.”
Reach Jason Cohen at email@example.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bxtimes and Facebook @bxtimes.