APRIL 2020
Helping Homeless Families Cope
With recent requirements that everyone stay at home and practice “social distancing,” the 636 children in CHI’s shelters must spend their days in their private rooms with their guardian. While this is challenging, the most-sturdy of caregivers, guardians with special needs or diagnoses are facing new stresses that, if not addressed, may lead to undesirable outcomes. For example, a single mother of four living in one of CHI’s shelters grapples with severe anxiety and depression. Keeping her children occupied has been a challenge that, without help, may trigger an unwanted episode.

CHI’s Child Recreation Supervisor has connected this mother’s children with online programs on their iPads. This has given their mom a much-needed mental break. The picture here shows two of her children occupied while working online with programs supplied by CHI. Recreation Aides do science experiments, read books, post prompts for essays that are shared, do “silly dances” for the toddlers' amusement and provide remote homework help. We also have librarians who have recorded themselves reading books, a karate studio that records fun videos to practice movement, and more. These programs, offered over Webex to our sequestered children, can be a life saver for families in this unusually stressful environment.
Distributing Food

CHI’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program ( EHAP ) Housing Specialists are charged with working with families in apartments that CHI rents from private landlords to temporarily house homeless families until they can find permanent housing. While these families usually take care of their own food needs, these are not normal times, and our families need assistance to access adequate food sources for their family members. CHI’s dedicated EHAP Housing Specialists in Westchester County have been receiving donated food from Mount Vernon City Hall as well as numerous other county food programs. Most recently, 13 bags filled with pantry items were delivered by CHI staff to our homeless families with medical concerns or infants. Forty school lunches, donated by the Mount Vernon School District and 50 frozen breakfast sandwiches, donated anonymously, were also distributed to 12 at-risk families representing 39 individuals.
Hand Up Fund

The Hand Up Fund allows you, our donors, to have a direct impact in bettering the lives of others. Every donation, no matter the size, has a profound and lasting impact. The Hand Up Fund meets the immediate needs of families living in emergency housing to enable them to become more financially self-sufficient. This includes costs associated with gaining employment, furthering education, participating in vocational programs, after school activities for children, transportation or rental application fees—expenses not covered by our government. We have covered costs for hard-working clients to sit for Certified Nursing Assistant or Medical Assistant exams or re-certifications, attend driving classes, obtain uniforms for a new job or enable children to participate in after school or sports activities. 

Changing a little can change a lot. Please consider donating now.
The Show Must Go On!
Virtual Home Ownership Orientations
As the COVID-19 situation worsened throughout the New York metropolitan area, CHI decided to transition all Free Home Ownership Grant Orientation sessions to webinar format. On March 9, CHI began the work needed to find a webinar platform, adapt the standard presentation for a webinar and train all Home Ownership staff on how to lead such an endeavor.

CHI successfully launched the first webinar session of our Grant Orientation for First Time Homebuyers on March 16th in Westchester County. The 32 attendees received the same Powerpoint and handouts that they would have received in a typical face-to-face meeting. They participated in online polls and were able to ask questions. A second session on March 19, 2020, served the Long island community. Forty clients completed this session. Feedback has been positive, and we expect to offer webinars throughout April, and longer, if needed.  Keep an eye on CHI’s website for upcoming sessions.  
The CHI Home Ownership team notes that much of the normal spring activity in the housing market has paused, and there is uncertainty regarding when activity may resume. Still, potential first-time home buyers should take advantage of CHI’s orientation sessions. They provide a free opportunity to become educated about the home buying process, so when housing market activity resumes, you can hit the ground running.  
For more information or to register for a free First Time Home Buyers Webinar visit our website at communityhousing.org .
Your support enables CHI to meet the increased need for housing and services, especially to the children of our communities.