An innovative collaboration between BHC’s Real Estate Development and Resident Services departments is fostering organizational sustainability and resident stability. The partnership was initiated by Maria Tabacchi, Senior Real Estate Development Associate, as she looked for a better way to fulfill the HUD Section 3 requirements that accompany the public sector funds she manages. Section 3 aims to generate economic investment in areas where public funds are being deployed through employment, job training, and business development for low- to very-low income individuals. Maria saw the potential to get qualified BHC residents to fill some of these roles and reached out to the Resident Services team. That’s when she met Mrs. A.
Mrs. A, an Iraq native and Lincoln Mews resident, speaks little English, but Abby, the onsite Resident Services Coordinator, was able to remotely work with her adult children living in Michigan to help translate and get Mrs. A enrolled in benefits like food assistance to help her balance her budget. Once Abby learned that she had been looking for a housekeeping job, but wasn’t sure where to start or how to navigate the process, she referred Mrs. A to BHC’s Career Coordinator, Jeff, who helped her come up with a plan and develop a resume.
Job hunting can be very daunting for our residents, so their support of our career counselors can be crucial to getting a resident to pursue new or higher paying opportunities. Many residents face multiple barriers to employment – transportation, childcare, few or outdated skill sets – and in the case of Mrs. A, the additional hurdle of a language barrier.
On May 19th the Resident Services teamed up with Maria and her Section 3 employers to host an onsite employer and resource fair where they could connect residents, including Mrs. A, to in-demand jobs. Fifteen local employers and community resources were in attendance, including BHC partner and Section 3 employer, Eagle Construction. Abby accompanied Mrs. A to the different booths to help her communicate, and Mrs. A handed out her resume. Within two days, she was interviewed by one of Eagle’s subcontractors and offered a Section 3 housekeeping position paying $15/hour. She began her new job within a week and has since been enjoying her work and newfound independence.
“This new collaboration is a win-win-win” says Joyce Jackson, VP of Resident Services. BHC is able to meet the requirements of our funders, assist residents in gaining employment, and build new housing units for other low-income individuals in our city.
“We wanted to bring it full circle where we are building [affordable houses] and our [affordable] housing residents are being employed in their construction.” -Maria Tabacchi.
Thanks to this cross-departmental teamwork, there is a new pipeline for Section 3 recruitment and residents, including Mrs. A, are flourishing.
BHC’s resident services programs are 100% funded by donations from our supporters, and all gifts are tax-deductible. BHC supports equity, independence, dignity and access to opportunity for residents. If you believe as we do that everyone deserves better choices in where they live, work and play, consider making a gift so that more of your neighbors can thrive.