An Investment in
for Homeless Children
USA is the nation’s
largest builder, developer and manager of supportive housing with comprehensive,
on-site human services for homeless and low-income families, serving more than
2,500 families each year at fifteen facilities throughout the New York metropolitan
area. HELP USA is sharing its
model of operation and serves close to 11,000 homeless and low-income individuals
nationwide with facilities in Philadelphia, Houston, Las Vegas, Buffalo, Little
Rock and Memphis.
Founded in 1986
by Andrew Cuomo, who later served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development, the mission of HELP USA is to help children
and families who are homeless and others in need become and remain self-reliant.
HELP USA’s services and
programs primarily address the following social issues: housing, job training,
domestic violence, substance abuse services, youth development, mentoring and
Children need family stability
and positive role models. HELP USA recognizes that domestic violence is the
primary cause of homelessness and unemployment for a significant portion of
this population. In fact, at least
50 percent of homeless women and children are escaping homes of violence, while
nearly 100 percent of women receiving domestic violence services identify the
violence as a significant impediment to their obtaining and maintaining employment.
Since 1994, HELP Works, the agency’s welfare-to-work initiative, has
placed more than 4,500 homeless family members in employment, helping them
to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
HELP USA provides the families
with initial health assessments at most of its sites, ensures pregnant women
receive prenatal attention, and checks to be certain children receive inoculations
for school while monitoring for speech and physical development.
As an experienced
provider of day care services to homeless families in New York State, HELP’s
facilities serve over 300 children daily in New York City alone.
HELP USA offers a range of
services to address the after school and recreational needs of resident children
and realize their full potential to become responsible, productive adults.
Besides offering early childhood education to all children between the ages
of 0-6 at its family-based facilities, HELP USA also offers after-school programs
for their youth between the ages of 6-18 in New York City. These after-school
programs are extremely important for those children in over-crowded classrooms
with a lack of counselors, nurses and special attention.
designate these children at risk to Mentoring USA (MUSA), which is the city’s
largest school and site-based, one-to-one mentoring program for children
in New York City. The program trains caring
volunteers as mentors to spend one hour a week with a disadvantaged child.
Besides providing mentoring
for our general at-risk population including foster care children, as an affiliate
of HELP USA, MUSA serves the youth at Genesis Homes in Brooklyn and Genesis
RFK apartments in Manhattan. MUSA expects to serve at least 1,000 children
At Genesis Homes in Brooklyn,
HELP USA operates the WAY Program (Work Appreciation for Youth), which targets
young adolescents and provides a long-term, individualized training and development
regimen that instills values, and teaches job skills.
HELP USA subcontracts Boys
and Girls Clubs of America Incorporated, to operate after-school programs with
recreation programs at HELP I, Genesis Homes in East New York Brooklyn, at
HELP Morris and HELP Crotona North in the Bronx, and Genesis RFK Apartments
in Manhattan. MUSA supplements
the Boys and Girls Clubs with mentor relationships for the youth, one-to-one
for a one-year commitment. MUSA offers a great deal of enrichment that is especially
vital to at-risk children. All these programs have the more immediate impact
of keeping at-risk children off the streets in a safe environment.
Matilda Raffa Cuomo is Founder
and Chairperson, Mentoring USA.