Since the pandemic hit in March, NHT continues to work hard to meet the needs of our residents. In almost every way imaginable, the pandemic has exacerbated the disparities in healthy, stable living among the working poor. The disparities are even greater when looking at race. Over the last 5 months, NHT launched several programs in direct response to the pandemic.
- Onsite Food Pantries: Thanks to partnerships with the Capital Area Food Bank and DC Dream Center, all our DC properties now operate onsite food pantries that offer free healthy, fresh foods to residents in need. As most schools have made the decision to meet virtually until at least November, NHT is committed to ensuring our children have access to meals and are working with local partners and generous funders to extend meal delivery until at least the end of 2020 at our properties with the highest demonstrated need.
- Loaner Device Program: Virtual learning is going to have an immense impact on all children; however, children on the margins stand to lose the most. With a recent survey indicating that 49% of respondents so far know a student who needs a device for virtual learning, lack of digital access remains an immense barrier to positive educational outcomes, even more so with virtual learning replacing in-person classes. Starting in August, NHT will provide laptop loans to our residents in the DC area.
- Virtual Tutoring: Our Resident Service Coordinators are working with local universities in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and Florida to create virtual learning opportunities for our youth.
- Emergency Cash Assistance: NHT strongly believes that one of the most impactful solution to the current challenge posed by the COVID-19 crisis at our communities is to provide emergency cash assistance grants to the residents who need them most. These grants, between $200 and $500, will provide sorely needed cash to pay for delinquent utility bills, groceries, medical expenses and rent.
- Service Linkage: Our service linkage model provides wrap around support by linking individuals to free and low-cost direct services. Services include access to food, healthcare, education, workforce training, social services, financial management, and emergency rental and utility payment.
None of the above work would be possible without the dedication of our Resident Services Coordinators. NHT’s newest coordinator, Quanesha Richardson, is an example of excellence. Since joining the team at our Baltimore property in March, Quanesha has launched 12 new programs include an onsite food pantry that brings in nearly 10,000 pounds of fresh food, monthly. Recently, Quanesha worked with the office of a state senator to assist our residents. Senator Antonio Hayes occupies the 40th District’s Senate seat and serves as the Chief of Staff for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, where he helps children who have been abused or neglected, and low-income families in need of public assistance. Antonio personal generosity helped pay the rent of two tenants who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at Vintage Gardens & Calloway Row.
With the generous support of the following funders, NHT will continue to work to bring needed services to our communities:
- Capital Area Food Bank
- Capital One Foundation
- Funders for Housing Opportunity
- No Kid Hungry
- Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF)
- Wells Fargo Foundation