The Coalition for the Homeless announced Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx as winners of the 2018 Compassionate Communities award on November 29. This annual award is given to a neighborhood group in New York City that is an inspiring example of compassion and humanity to those in need.
“We are honored to receive this award from the Coalition for the Homeless. Our mission was to make the residents that were going to be moving into that building feel welcome in the neighborhood and do what we could to make their transition easier,” said Ivan Braun, a member of Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx.
“We are thrilled to announce Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx as winners of this year’s Compassionate Communities Award. We want to celebrate all the volunteers who took proactive steps to build bridges in the community and support their new neighbors,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless. “New York City’s homeless crisis remains stubbornly at record levels and we must use all tools available to match the dire need. Not matter how small, acts of kindness really do make a difference and we congratulate Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx for their continued work in their community.”
“As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to care for our most vulnerable populations. That includes our homeless families. Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx has done tremendous work to integrate the Broadway Plaza Family Shelter with the surrounding Kingsbridge community, and the work of these volunteers truly sets an example for compassionate community involvement for the entire city. I congratulate Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx on this important award, and I encourage neighborhoods all over our city to consider their example when examining controversial projects in the future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Our city’s current shelter system manages to deal with tremendous overcrowding, insufficient resources, and unfair stigmas from community members. It is important to remember, especially at this time of year, that kindness is a resource every New Yorker can offer. The recipients of this year’s Coalition for the Homeless Compassionate Communities Award: ‘Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx’ understands that that support and compassion can have an extraordinary impact on an individual or family that is striving to restore their life. I am honored to congratulate and thank this organization for their contributions to our North West Bronx community,” said NYC Council Member Andrew Cohen.
The Compassionate Communities Award, now in its third year, was awarded to Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx, located in the neighborhoods of Kingsbridge and Riverdale, for responding to a new shelter with kindness and helping uplift their new neighbors. The group was formed following the news of a new building in their neighborhood that became a shelter for homeless families with children.
While news of the shelter was initially greeted by some skepticism, a group of concerned community members met and formed the Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx group to ensure their new neighbors felt at home. When the shelter opened in October 2017, the group organized a Halloween party for children, with stations for face painting and mask making. Since then, they have held holiday fundraisers for Thanksgiving and toy drives. They have also organized summer tutoring sessions that evolved into an afterschool program.
The combination of skyrocketing rents and stagnant incomes continues to push record numbers of New Yorkers into homelessness, leaving them with nowhere to turn but a shelter system that is bursting at the seams. Currently, 63,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters any given night, including nearly 23,000 children.
In February 2017, Mayor de Blasio unveiled “Turning the Tide on Homelessness” a plan for the City to open 90 new shelters to replace expensive and inadequate models like cluster-site facilities and commercial hotels. The Mayor explained that homeless people come from every neighborhood in the city, and they can get back on their feet more quickly if they are sheltered close to their existing community ties like schools, jobs, social supports, doctors, and churches.
About Coalition for the Homeless
The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education, and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized. It the past 37 years, we have given more than a million homeless New Yorkers a way off the streets.
To learn more about the 2018 Compassionate Communities award, please visit here.