I got to use my leadership skills to help run large public meetings where we demanded that our system be improved, not destroyed. We confronted the Mayor in his office demanding improvements, not abandonment. We used our people power and we won big time. We brought in new members and built new power. I’m so proud of CVH Dutchess Chapter!
In August 2014 I was asked to join CVH’s Public Housing Committee—to provide input for Next Generation NYCHA. I canvassed people in the neighborhood (Millbrook Houses); I asked them questions about conditions in their apartments, collected information about what was going on in the community, informed them about what NYCHA was doing, and how they could get involved. We engaged over 1,000 people in conversations to get them involved and educated on housing practices.
One of my best memories was the “Waffle” action we ran in 2002—we took four buses down to Washington D.C. to [then Senator] Hillary Clinton’s house—she said she wouldn’t sign anything that would add more hours to workfare, but a week later we heard she’d signed off on a measure to increase hours from 30 to 35 hours per week. She was waffling, so we went up to her house to demonstrate, and leave waffles on her doorstep; someone even wore a waffle costume. 3 days later, she took her name off the list!
I was asked to speak at CVH’s first anti-poverty meeting in Port Chester. I did a speech in a church about what the After School programs are doing for me. I’m glad my kids are learning there; we need that help. One of our legislators attended; it was so exciting for me—it was the first time I felt heard and I did not want it to end! Something changed inside me that night—we can’t just stay home and do nothing.
New York City Chapter
I am a resident of the Highbridge Gardens public housing development. I was a victim of downsizing at my job and soon there after I became homeless and was receiving public assistance. Public housing became the best option for me, and after a 10 month search I was able to move into Highbridge Garden, and have lived there for 10 years.
New York City Chapter, Co-Chair, CVH Board of Directors
I am a single mother and a former welfare recipient. As a welfare recipient in New York City, I was required to work 5 days a week for eight hours each day for the City in exchange for less than $100 of public assistance money I received every two weeks to care for myself and my 5 year old son. My work consisted of pulling staples and putting documents in boxes.