When Sherwin Darden, a Penn-Wortman Houses resident, walked into the new Jobs Plus Center in his neighborhood, he didn’t have a Social Security card, government identification, or health care, let alone a job. Now he’s got all of those, and he’s helping his neighbors too. He’s been hired by the center to be a community coach there, and has helped nine other residents land jobs so far. He has also been a mentor to his son, who is headed to Princeton in the fall.
The new center is the first Jobs Plus site funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in New York City. A nationally recognized program that helps increase employment and earnings among public housing residents, Jobs Plus boosts residents’ earnings by an average of 16 percent.
“Two years ago, when we launched NextGen NYCHA, we knew it was more than just a paper plan. It is a real-world, concrete strategy to improve NYCHA and better support our residents,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Shola Olatoye at a ribbon cutting to open the center. “One of our NextGeneration NYCHA goals is to engage with residents in new ways by connecting them to best-in-class services, like Jobs Plus. By combining stable, long-term affordable housing with thoughtful services, we are strengthening public housing and empowering residents.”
In New York City, Jobs Plus is an interagency partnership between NYCHA, the NYC Human Resources Administration, the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment. The Penn-Wortman center is the tenth site in the city. Jobs Plus now serves 27 developments and has helped almost 7,000 NYCHA residents find jobs.
“The Jobs Plus model proves that with the right combination of support and opportunity, public housing residents can move toward economic self-sufficiency,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, at the ribbon cutting. “I commend NYCHA for their national leadership in piloting and expanding a program that has placed nearly 7,000 residents in jobs that will increase their financial independence.”
At the Penn-Wortman Jobs Plus Center, Brooklyn-based nonprofit Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is providing customized educational curricula across the Jobs Plus model’s three core components: employment-related services, financial incentives, and community support for work. Additional services at the center include financial counseling, education assistance, and help opening a safe and affordable bank account, decreasing debt, and increasing and establishing credit.
Visit or call the center at 425 New Lots Avenue (between New Jersey and Vermont) in Brooklyn, 347-537-2925.