Eduardo Aguilar, a social worker with over 25 years of experience, has lived in East Harlem his whole life and has never seriously contemplated living anywhere else. His dream of stability, however, was threatened when he lost both his job and stepfather during the pandemic. When his elderly mother’s dementia became too severe to live alone, Eduardo opted to live and care for her in her Harlem apartment.
The loss of Eduardo’s income as a social worker, the delay in getting paid as his mother’s full-time home health aide, and Section 8’s failure to pay more of the monthly rent resulted in the household owing the landlord a little over $5,000, an amount they did not have, and being threatened with possible eviction.
Eduardo was given a list of agencies that might be able to help, and The Bridge Fund came through. “I think they are amazing. Once they got all the information from us, they explained the process to me, and within a month it was taken care of.” The Bridge Fund helped Eduardo review the household’s finances so he could better manage their modest budget and maintain their long-term housing stability. The program secured a $1,000 grant from an anonymous source and covered the remaining balance of the rental arrears. The Bridge Fund also provided a modest $300 Target gift card, which was conveniently sent to Eduardo via email and used to purchase food and other essential items.
Today, Elena and son are safely in their $1,248-a-month rent-subsidized apartment. They are current on their bills, and Eduardo says that while his mother has daily struggles living with dementia, he is glad that she is still living in the apartment she has called home for almost 30 years. “I love my mom – everybody loves my mom. She’s been there for everybody. Now I can be there for her.”
“I love my mom – everybody loves my mom. She’s been there for everybody. Now I can be there for her.”