Family Service Society of Yonkers to facilitate placement in affordable municipal housing in Yonkers
The Family Service Society of Yonkers (FSSY) is partnering with the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers (MHACY) on a joint mission to help related families looking for affordable housing. In this cooperative effort, related families (headed by grandparents raising children in the absence of their biological parents) seeking affordable housing in Yonkers will receive local preference alongside other groups such as the disabled, veterans and the homeless, which will make them eligible for priority. placement in affordable housing and receipt of Section 8 vouchers. MHACY intake forms to determine their eligibility for both municipal housing and Section 8 vouchers.
There are more than 1,450 grandparents in Yonkers raising grandchildren because their parents are unable to. The FSSY Kinship Support Program helps 50 of these families. More than 90% of them belong to the low and extremely low income categories, and 96% are women, most of whom are single grandmothers.
Helen Frankel, Executive Director of the FSSY, says, “Caregivers take on the responsibility of raising children when many can barely afford to make ends meet and have inadequate housing. Most are very low-income single grandmothers who have taken on the care of traumatized children because their parents cannot provide for them. We are very pleased to partner with MHACY to provide family carers with the help they need and hope that other municipalities will also consider taking similar steps to provide adequate and safe housing for related families.
Wilson Kimball, President and CEO, City of Yonkers Municipal Housing, said, “MHACY’s past and current relationship with FSSY and its resident coordinators has been very rewarding for our tenants and staff. We look forward to partnering with FSSY on this much-needed new service to an incredibly large population. »
FSSY GrandPower Advocates identified the critical need for more affordable housing for related families and advocated for the expansion of affordable housing options for them. According to Sylvia Gaynor, a family caregiver and member of FSSY’s GrandPower Advocacy Project, “Family caregivers face many unique challenges in finding safe and affordable housing in which to raise our children. Many of us are seniors with very few financial resources, and some of us live in seniors’ residences. After taking responsibility for our grandchildren, we no longer qualify for this senior housing and have to move, which we cannot afford. We are very happy that our situation is finally resolved in Yonkers.
Housing is the most difficult issue facing Kinship Support Program staff due to the limited amount of affordable housing – subsidized or on the open market – available for caregivers. Many of these families remain in overcrowded and derelict housing because they cannot afford to move. The COVID-19 outbreak has presented even greater challenges to these kinship families.
The housing preference for related families headed by grandparents will allow some of these families to obtain placement in municipal housing or Section 8 vouchers. Although this will not solve all the problems that related families face, having adequate and safe housing will go a long way towards creating stable and caring families in which to raise the children of relatives.