A Message from Our CEO

March 25, 2021

Jeannette RuffinsIn our latest newsletter, we check in with Quadriyah, a former resident who has since moved to permanent housing with her now eight-year-old son. Quadriyah notes that when she first came to Homeward NYC, she didn’t make it easy for the staff.

Yet she quickly became a friend and resource for newer residents and a “shining star,” in the words of Women’s Empowerment and Life Skills Program Manager Althea Finley.

When homeless individuals and families come to Homeward NYC, they’ve often experienced previous trauma in addition to homelessness. Most have experienced family rejection, violence or abuse. That history can make it difficult to trust others and accept help.

That is why trauma-informed care is a core component of our direct services. Healing and skills-building go hand-in-hand for empowering homeless young persons to build brighter futures for themselves.

In fact, that approach is why we chose the new name Homeward NYC: to convey the sense of a safe home where homeless young people can build the skills to move forward.

COVID-19 has required us to adapt empowerment, skills-building and counseling services to online tools. We’ve made some updates but still seek partners to provide upgraded network hardware, internet and computers, as well as Smart TVs for small group and virtual activities.

After a challenging year, we see light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine becomes more available. As an agency, we strive to overcome vaccine hesitancy in our communities and the broader community.

I serve as a member of the Racial Equity in Supportive Housing Workgroup. RESH is working for equity, accountability and transparency in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. We recognize that hesitancy should not be used to explain away a lack of access.

As we ease back to a more familiar way of life, I look forward to updating you on how our residents and staff are doing. Please sign up for email news at homeward.nyc/updates.

Thank you so much for your support this past year. Your generosity and kindness are life-changing for homeless young mothers, children, LGBTQ young adults and seniors.

May you and yours stay safe and well,

Jeannette K. Ruffins
Chief Executive Officer
March 2021

Homeward News Winter/Spring 2021 Contents: