Real Talk by BronxWorks at Food Bank Conference

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nutrition and housing, the subjects of two talks by BronxWorks staffers, aroused a great deal of interest at a recent conference sponsored by Food Bank of New York City.  Juandy Paredes, case management supervisor for BronxWorks’ HomeBase program, and Maxene Foster, coordinator of our Access to Benefits program, spoke at workshops.  Also attending was Maria Rivera, director of our Department of Senior Services, which oversees two food pantries.  

Juandy’s talk was about homelessness prevention initiatives at BronxWorks, in particular HomeBase.  “The audience was mostly pantry providers who are supplied by Food Bank,” says Juandy. “People often convey to them the trouble they have paying rent, so it’s information that the food bank providers really appreciate.”  

BronxWorks and the Food Bank have a long history of collaboration, so staff members from both understand the interconnectedness of housing and food access issues.  “Poverty is not compartmentalized,” said Maria Rivera.  “It cuts across much of our work.”  She went on to note that at the conference “were people from every borough telling grim stories about the lack of affordable housing for seniors.”  (Please see the related story on the Seniors Homelessness Prevention Project.)

Maxene discussed how organizations like BronxWorks facilitate enrollment in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as Food Stamps.   She said technology has helped streamline operations and improve efficiency.  BronxWorks adopted the paperless office system implemented by the Human Resources Administration, which oversees SNAP verification in the five boroughs, seven years ago.

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