"The stress of doing everything for myself was taking its toll on my health. Having a Home Health Aide has changed everything!" Maria, an elderly tenant in one of RiseBoro's seven senior buildings seemed to be showing signs of depression. When Aidee Reyes, the Social Services Coordinator for the building in which Maria lives, noticed these signs, she took immediate action.
Ms. Zenith Harper grew up in the Midwest, but fell in love with the energy and diversity of New York City when she moved here in 2012. "There's never a dull moment," she said, "I'm always learning so much." When neighbors in her Bronx apartment building started receiving eviction notices from their landlord, Ms. Harper, a U.S. Army veteran who spent time homeless during her early days in New York, sought help.
William D'Emilio, a Vietnam-era veteran, is full of stories, ideas, and optimism. He is inspired by Chinese philosophy, plays the guitar and the spoons, and has ambitions to become a movie-maker and children's book publisher. "The road to self-improvement never ends," he says. Daniel Ward, an Iraq veteran and RiseBoro case manager, met William while performing outreach in Staten Island, and encouraged him to reach out for help.
Wanda Valle is a single mother raising two teenage girls. After losing her Mother this year, she found herself searching for ways to heal. "When my mother passed away that hit me really hard. My mother was more than my friend, she inspired me. I miss cooking with her, arguing with her. I miss all that. I got into a deep depression after I lost her, because we were very close.
Getting caught up in what he calls a criminal lifestyle from a young age, Mr. Canty was in and out of the prison system for most of his adult life. While in prison, Mr. Canty said one day he had an epiphany: "I looked in the mirror, and I didn't like what I saw." He took the mirror down and began to make changes, getting involved in a number of available programs and enrolling in college courses. After six months he put the mirror back on the wall and says he finally liked what he saw.
Born in Puerto Rico, Alexander has been a proud New Yorker for many years. He met his wife here, and the pair have two young children. In 2008, the family spent more than a year in the shelter system. When they moved into their own apartment in Brooklyn, they were ecstatic. However, there were complications with the rental assistance program that had provided support while Alexander looked for work, and the family was soon behind in rent.
A phone call to 311 connected Steve with RiseBoro's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. "I was about to lose my apartment, I had to act fast," he says. He met with a case manager who guided him through housing court and helped him formulate a plan to avoid eviction. "[RiseBoro] was very informative about letting me know what I had to do so I wouldn't lose my apartment," Steve says.