New ‘Project Parachute’ initiative aims to help New Yorkers that were impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

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(Photo by Todd Maisel)

Over 40 owners of market-rate and affordable apartment buildings, nonprofits, and service providers have come together to help New Yorkers stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new initiative, called “Project Parachute,” was launched with an initial $4 million dollar investment from property owners so vulnerable New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19. 

Project Parachute aims to reach those who have limited or no access to government resources, including undocumented immigrants and shadow economy workers. The Project also seeks to support those New York City communities hit disproportionately hard by the COVID pandemic, including Black and Latino communities.

“We have one common purpose in this moment: keeping New Yorkers in their homes,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners. “Project Parachute is one of many steps needed towards providing vital resources to tenants, especially the unserved and underserved. Partnership between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors is critical, and we are thankful for the commitment of the nonprofits and property owners taking part in this important initiative. And as we now face one of the biggest economic, health, and housing crises in our lifetime, we commit to advocating for additional solutions, including federal funding for comprehensive rental assistance that will help ensure ongoing housing stability for both tenants and property owners.”

The philanthropic fund will be coordinated and managed by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit organization focused on affordable housing, which will design the program in collaboration with tenants and community-based organizations, to ensure the program meets the needs of hardest-hit New Yorkers who are unserved or underserved by existing resources. The partners involved in the project will be grant money to human services nonprofits across the city, enabling them to reach more low-income New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19.

The philanthropically-funded program will be administered entirely autonomously by nonprofit partners and will be blind to which buildings the tenants live.

“Services for the UnderServed has long believed that the best way to prevent homelessness is to reduce evictions,” said Donna Colonna at Services for the UnderServed. “As the Homebase provider for Manhattan, we know that Homebase is a proven, cost-effective model to help tenants keep a roof over their head and get back on their feet. The extra funding pledged and the principles committed to will assist S:US in carrying out our mission at this crucial time. We applaud all the participants for taking this proactive step to ameliorate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.”

For more information about Project Parachute, visit www.projectparachute.nyc.