After spending three years in a shelter, Anthony Harris and his mother Hilary were able to find housing through the support of ADAPT’s Housing Assistance Services (HAS) lead by Wendy DeLeon. Linda Irby, Housing Advocate in HAS, worked closely with the pair after taking over their case at the end of 2017.
Linda worked closely with the family after they were forced to move to a shelter in 2017 due to limited affordable housing in the city. Linda helped advocate for the family by contacting the Housing Specialist at the shelter they were staying to ensure the family received all available housing information. In addition, she would contact management in NYCHA housing to ensure that the family’s name remained on the waiting list in case there were any openings. She also contacted the Human Resources Administration in the Department of Social Services for information on entitlements. She sent numerous applications for subsidized housing and any resources that may benefit them. As COVID-19 hit, the situation was exacerbated when Anthony lost his job as a security guard due to high rates of unemployment within the city.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development was one of the entities that offered affordable housing through Housing Connect. Housing Connect allows people to apply online to apartments they are eligible for based on household income and other factors. Those who apply are entered into a lottery. If their number is pulled and they are qualified, they can continue with the application process. Luckily after over three years of hard work and consistent submission of applications, the family was chosen for a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn where rent is very affordable. From there, a tremendous amount of paperwork needs to be completed within a couple of weeks once in order to proceed with the housing opportunity. Along with the shelter staff, Linda assisted them with their needs and supported them every step of the way.
A couple of weeks later Linda received a call form Ms. Harris letting her know that she and Anthony got the apartment and would be signing the lease in the next few days. With Anthony’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and a city subsidy that was received while in the shelter, the family would be able to make the monthly rent.
“I am very grateful for the assistance of Housing Assistance Services at ADAPT,” said Ms. Harris. She credits Individualized Supports and Services (ADAPT’s rent subsidy program), which was instrumental in securing a grant for her and her son. Claire McLoughlin, former ISS Director at ADAPT, accompanied Ms. Harris and Anthony on many housing interviews and apartment searches. Claire’s support in obtaining the rent subsidy helped open up more affordable housing opportunities.
“I was as excited as they were when they told me they were going to sign the lease. I imagined what it must feel like for someone who had been living in a shelter for three years to now have their own apartment and bathroom.” Linda said, “They will be so happy to have the freedom to come and go as they please.”
The Housing Advocates at ADAPT provide various housing supports for families livening within New York City’s five boroughs. In order to qualify for these services, families must have a member of the household who is OPWDD eligible. Wendy and her team provide support through advocacy, education, and referral services for any housing concerns, including eviction prevention, housing court, repairs, pest control, and low-income and affordable housing through Housing Preservation and Development’s Housing Connect, NYCHA, Section 8 and Division of Housing and Community Renewal. ADAPT is one of only three agencies in New York City that provides these types of housing assistance services funded through OPWDD.
The Housing Assistance Service Department at ADAPT receives inquiries through care managers, 311, referrals from other city programs, and ADAPT’s Project Connect, which provides information and resources to people supported and families. The department stays informed by attending training and webinars as well as keeping up to date with current events and developments within the housing industry. They have proven to be an integral resource for people supported and families, particularly those whose lives are changed when affordable and accessible housing is obtained like the Harris family.
For additional information about Housing Assistance Services provided at ADAPT, please contact Project Connect at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-827-2666.