The Bridge Fund of New York City

A Program of The Bridge Fund of New York Inc.

Who we are.

Maria Toledo

Director, The Bridge Fund of
New York City

New York City Staff
Staff, Left to Right: Maria Toledo, Rosalie Girau, Emma Melendez, Monika Scherer, Drew Greer, Jeffery Ramos, Diane Keating, Veronica Solis

After a productive year in 2019, we are confronting the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc on the City economy and, as of the summer of 2020, has claimed the lives of 23,000 seniors, first responders, essential workers and others. Already, more than one million jobs have been lost in New York City from nearly all economic sectors, including restaurant and hospitality, theatre, trade, transportation, healthcare, professional businesses and education. By June, the unemployment rate had reached more than 20 percent, double that of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Not surprisingly, one in four tenants had not paid rent during April, May or June, according to the Community Housing Improvement Program, an association of building landlords and managers of 400,000 rent-stabilized apartments. Undoubtedly, matters will be made worse when the Governor’s moratorium on evictions expires and thousands of households in New York City lose their $600-a-week CARES unemployment insurance benefits.

The Bridge Fund of New York City wasted no time responding creatively and decisively to the pandemic. By mid-March, all staff members were given remote access to program files and data and were serving clients from home. For the first time ever, the program provided, via email and post, supermarket gift cards to clients from vendors such as Whole Foods, Morton Williams, ShopRite, Target and Costco. We expanded our client eligibility criteria to provide short-term rent subsidies to households awaiting sufficient unemployment income and to first responders and essential workers, who despite being gainfully employed, were experiencing financial hardship because of added child care, transportation and other work-related costs. Through our two listservs, we have been regularly emailing updates to referral sources about our expanded services and intake procedures, and have also been emailing vital information to clients on such topics as free COVID-19 testing, the State’s Rent Relief Program, food distribution sites operated by the Board of Education, the extended July 15th tax filing deadline, and more.

Already, we are looking ahead and reaching out to Workforce 1 (City government), LaGuardia Community College and other area schools, plus private sources, to ascertain what courses and job training programs are, or will soon be, operational and able to accept applicants. More than ever, we want to tap these resources to help our clients prepare for, and reconnect with, the job market so they can improve their finances and ability to hold onto their housing long after our initial intervention.

We are now implementing a new service designed to improve the work skills and earning potential of willing clients. Learn more about The Bridge Fund’s Income Growth Initiative.

Director’s Annual Message

The Climate in New York City

  • A total of 133,284 individuals, including over 45,600 children, slept in the municipal shelter system during the 2018 City fiscal year. The cost to taxpayers of maintaining these adults, seniors and children in shelters has been significant.
  • On average, households with children remain in the city shelters for almost 14 months, despite the fact that one third have a family member that works.
  • The price tag to taxpayers? For families with children, the City spent $171-a-day, or $62,415, for a twelve-month stay in a shelter.

For a fraction of the cost, The Bridge Fund helps hard-working New Yorkers, retirees and veterans hold on to their affordable housing, much of it rent-regulated. We know that our clients do much to make our City great and deserve our help when confronted with such unforeseen emergencies as temporary unemployment, exorbitant medical bills, or the death of a loved one.

To all clients, we provide one or more of the following services:

  1. Compassionate listening
  2. Information and referral
  3. Individual budget counseling
  4. Benefits assessment and advocacy

During 2019, with Bridge Fund interest-free loans, grants, and/or subsidies of $922,101 the program prevented the evictions of 682 client-households, consisting of 1,466 adults, seniors and children. Our average financial assistance? Only $1,501 per family!

With the above case management services only, Bridge Fund case handlers prevented
the evictions of 87 households, consisting of 178 people.

TOTAL ASSISTED: 682 households with 1,466 individuals, including 483 children.

Maria Toledo, Director
The Bridge Fund of New York City

2019 New York City Program Activity Chart