Building Resilience in Our Communities with AmeriCorps VISTA
Last year, Enterprise began a partnership with the Resilience AmeriCorps program. Resilience AmeriCorps recruits and trains VISTA members to increase resilience-building capacity in low income communities across the country. Today, more than 4,200 elected officials are taking the opportunity to acknowledge the remarkable contributions that national service members make in their local communities every day as part of Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service.
We are currently hosting 15 VISTA members to support our programmatic work in urban, rural and tribal communities, including three in our New York office. In honor of today’s Recognition Day, we are pleased to highlight the critical work being carried out by Enterprise’s three VISTA members. Each VISTA member works closely with city agencies to support the priorities of New York City:
Kelsey Byrne helps low-income New Yorkers build resilience to financial shocks through her work on two critical programs: Enterprise Homes Plus and Rent Reporting for Credit Building. Enterprise Homes Plus connects residents of affordable housing to services in their neighborhood such as financial counseling, employment assistance and adult education. This helps build a network of support and gives residents the resources to improve their economic standing. Through Rent Reporting for Credit Building, residents can use on-time rent payments to build or improve their credit score. In New York 17 percent of people have subprime credit and 30 percent are credit invisible. This tool gives residents of affordable housing access to a credit building product without adding to their expenses or debt.
Working with our Neighborhood Impact team, Treasure Allen supports innovative approaches for the healthcare and housing sectors to work together in New York’s most vulnerable communities. One pathway is a physical needs assessment tool that will identify and address factors that cause and exacerbate childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments, addressing health disparities in low-income communities through the built environment. Additionally, she works to implement Enterprise’s Healthy Homes, Happy Kids Health Study to evaluate the health benefits of green healthy housing. As the health of low-income communities improves, they acquire resilience to a range of burdensome stressors.
Chloe Arnow is building the capacity of Enterprise’s Public Housing program in New York, which supports the preservation of public housing stock and improves the quality of life within public housing. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is home to 400,000 New Yorkers. It provides affordable homes to the city's most vulnerable residents, such as extremely low-income families, children and seniors. Empowering public housing residents is critical to achieving these outcomes. For example, housing authorities are taking advantage of innovative new programs and public-private partnerships. We are developing strong resident protections and engagement processes to ensure the best possible outcomes for residents. Empowering residents through improved access to information and strengthened connectivity creates a stronger, more socially resilient public housing community.
You can learn more about the great work being done by Resilience AmeriCorps members across the country on their website.