Message from the Executive Director
The Bridge Fund had another very productive year in 2018 and some very interesting possibilities are opening up to enhance its mission of preventing homelessness among the working poor.
In 2018, the two Bridge Fund programs, in Westchester and New York City, stabilized 1,041 households whose housing was in serious jeopardy (2,147 people in all). Included in this group were 754 children. Preventing children from becoming homeless and being placed in public shelters remains a top priority for The Bridge Fund.
In early 2019, the Board of Directors appointed Maria Toledo to become Deputy Director of our parent corporation. She will continue to be the head of the New York City program. Maria’s long and unparalleled experience in the field of homelessness prevention will be important to planning for the future.
The original program, started in Westchester in 1991, had a record year of service to clients in 2018. Clients come predominately from the southern part of the county. Grace Perry, the director for Westchester, explains that the main office in White Plains is not convenient for families from the northern half of Westchester who are in need of help. So, partly at the urging of Westchester’s Department of Social Services, we are actively exploring the possibility of opening a Bridge Fund office in Peekskill.
In New York City, homelessness continues to be a major, expensive problem. We accomplished a lot in 2018, as Maria Toledo will outline, but recent legislation puts The Bridge Fund in an even stronger position. Finally, The Bridge Fund is moving ahead to implement a new service for our clients—an Income Growth Initiative—designed to improve the work skills and earnings potential of willing clients.
This effort is being shaped by a significant survey of client needs prepared by members of our outstanding staff in New York City. The survey and its preliminary conclusions are summarized in the section on the New York City Bridge Fund. Having started several Work Force Development programs throughout my career, I understand firsthand the challenges we face in this new journey.
As one of our friends said a while ago, The Bridge Fund represents the gold standard in private homelessness prevention for the working poor. Maintaining this vision requires investment, timely changes as the environment changes and continuing innovation. We are excited to share the new initiatives with you. Thank you again for your ongoing support.
The Bridge Fund of New York Inc.