By: Donovan Hotz ’19
As part of my Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship with the Fordham IPED program I work part-time as an intern at University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP). The organization is a community-focused nonprofit corporation first founded in 1983 with support from Fordham University and later from the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. UNHP’s mission is to “create, preserve, and improve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx.” UNHP provides many services from low interest loans to technical assistance to community leaders, groups, and affordable housing managers through organization around and research of the issues that impact housing affordability and community resources.As an intern, my main work has been in managing the Building Indicator Project (BIP) database. The purpose of the BIP is to identify physical and/or financial distresses on multifamily properties in New York City. Each quarter we send out an updated database to subscribers that include financial institutions andcommunity groups. This report allows UNHP to work with lenders, public agencies, foundations, community groups, and banking regulators to improve housing conditions for low-income families. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work at UNHP events like the Financial Resource Fair for Bronx residents and the organization’s free tax preparation services for low-income NYC residents. It has been nice to balance my work on the BIP with working face-to-face with community members. It has even given me the opportunity to keep up with my Spanish!
As most of my experience in community-based work has been during my Peace Corps service in rural communities in Paraguay, working at UNHP has been a quite a contrast in terms of the issues and challenges that low-income families face in the Bronx. It has been great to learn from and work alongside the enthusiastic and dedicated team at UNHP.
By: Kelly Cannon ’19
I work at the Belmont Business Improvement District (BID) as a part of my Coverdell Fellowship for the Fordham IPED program. The mission of the Belmont BID “is to promote and expand the economic well-being of the business community, and the community at large, by promotion of the “Little Italy in the Bronx” brand, our strong ethnic heritage and leadership in the culinary marketplace, and by leveraging the mercantile, social, political, and cultural assets within and around or community.” My daily tasks as an intern at the Belmont BID vary, but typically my work includes website management, interacting with local business owners, planning community events, and conducting administrative responsibilities. Additionally, I research the neighborhood and gather information on the happenings in the area. “Little Italy in the Bronx” attracts people from all over the world, and the Belmont BID works hard to promote the area and benefit the community.
Kelly Cannon ’19 working at the Belmont Bid Christmas Event.
Building relationships with the local restaurant owners and shopkeepers in the neighborhood where I live is one of the best parts of my internship. It has allowed me to become more familiar with my neighborhood and develop an appreciation for the rich culture and tradition of this century old community. Instead of only interacting with the Fordham students in the area, I now know Ritchie, who sells plants inArthur Avenue Retail Market and Dave who runs the famous Mike’s Deli.
Local business owners contributed their products to the Belmont BID celebration.
Another one of my favorite parts of my internship was participating in the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in December. The evening brought nearly 1,000 members of the Belmont community to Ciccarone Park. Attendees gathered together to listen to Christmas carols, watch the tree lighting, eat Italian cookies, and drink hot chocolate. Santa Claus even came to the event and handed out more than 600 toys to the children of the community. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my experience at the Belmont BID, as it has enabled me to become more integrated into the area where I not only study, but live.
The Belmont BID Christmas Tree Lighting.