Formerly homeless, now computer-owners

Several lucky families in the new El Jardin de Seline apartment building just received new computers to go along with their new apartments.

On Wednesday, September 2, the Nos Quedamos Community Development Corp., along with Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo and Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo passed out the computers to 17 formerly homeless families now living in the Melrose Avenue apartment building.

“We’re so happy that we were able to donate these computers to the families living here, because it really helps to even the playing field,” Yolanda Gonzalez, CEO of Nos Quedamos, said before handing out the computers in the lobby of the building. “It gives them a leg up and it’s a good way to keep improving their lives.”

The computers, along with monitors and key-pads, were paid for with funds through the offices of Assemblywoman Arroyo and Councilwoman del Carmen Arroyo.

“Computers are too important these days, so we had to answer the call,” Councilwoman Arroyo said. “Technology is very important and being able to connect is vital. This is a mechanism that you can use to make better choices in your life and to stay better informed. Whenever there is a technology gap, you are at a serious disadvantage.”

All 17 families moved into the 12-story apartment building in May, months after the 84-unit building was completed. The apartments were reserved for qualifying families that had previously been living in shelters.

Nos Quedamos and Magnusson Architecture and Planning developed the building to provide affordable housing for Bronx families. Nos Quedamos is a non-profit group of south Bronx residents and homeowners.

“My apartment, even though it’s only a few blocks away, cannot compare to what you have here,” Assemblywoman Arroyo joked. “These new computers will be great for your new homes.”

For Sade Brinson, a student at Monroe College, a computer means she will spend fewer late nights at the school’s library, rushing to finish her papers before deadline.

“It feels great, because I’m starting up school again soon,” she said. “Now I can be in the comfort of my home, where I don’t have to rush for research.”

Having a computer in the home will help Michael Mastrocinque continue his search for a high-paying job to support his wife and daughter.

“I’m basically going to use this just for job searches,” he said. “Now I won’t need to bother neighbors or family members, or have to go to the library to use it.”

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