2020 brought us a once in a lifetime pandemic and a reckoning over racial justice that led to the biggest mass protest movement in our nation’s history.
As the world as we knew it was disrupted around us, one thing stayed the same: HELP USA was there for the most marginalized communities when they needed support.
Since our founding in 1986, HELP USA has been there for people during the most difficult moments of their lives. Individuals and families come to us when they have lost their homes, faced domestic violence, or are struggling with their mental health. 2020 was no exception.
Our stability enables members of the communities we serve to become more resilient in the face of systemic racial injustices and incredible personal hardship. Thanks to the dedication and innovation of our staff, families struggling to pay rent are able to remain in their homes, survivors of domestic violence can recover, and veterans struggling and isolated can find homes, communities, and the support services they need.
While this year has not been easy, I am grateful that through it all HELP USA has remained a cornerstone of the communities we serve.
As we look to the future, the HELP USA team and I are celebrating resilience — of our staff, of our residents and clients, and of our communities. It is in the context of struggle and grief that our collective resilience stands out the most. And it is because of our resilience that we can look ahead to 2021 and beyond and pursue our plans for a brighter future, even after enduring a year of exceptional loss.
Once again, thank you all for doing your part. You are all a cherished part of the HELP USA family this year and will remain so for many years to come.
Maria Cuomo Cole,
Chairman of the Board, HELP USA
Looking back at 2020, the hardest year that we have seen as an organization, I find myself thinking of the beginning of my career at HELP USA, when I came to work as a psychologist in our family shelters in the Bronx.
Every day families would come to me and tell me their stories. These were heartbreaking stories; stories of neglect and abuse; stories that centered on acute trauma, but when unfolded, revealed deeper wounds. These stories were concrete examples of what it means to be Black, Latino, poor, gay, an immigrant, mentally ill — examples of what structural racism and ingrained bias do to human beings who are just trying to live their lives and raise their families.
It was the hardest job that I have ever had, but it revealed an important truth.
People are amazingly resilient. Families suffer incredible trauma and are able to keep walking forward, trying to build a life, looking for help along that path.
The past year was a year of loss, challenge, and heartbreak. Coronavirus was the acute collective trauma, but like the individual traumas we see in our shelters, it revealed the deep wounds that remain embedded in our nation.
It revealed something else too: the value and importance of having people and structures that are there to help. This year those people were individuals who wore HELP USA uniforms, and those structures were the ones we at HELP have spent thirty years building.
I’m proud to say that HELP USA met the tremendous need of the moment. We provided masks and equipment to all of our clients and employees so they could keep themselves safe. We opened temporary shelters in hotels, so clients could live safely socially distanced. We installed free high-speed internet in all of our family shelters to help kids go to school virtually. We delivered food, gift cards, and diapers to people in desperate need.
We were able to do all of this because we took the time to build an organization mirroring the resilience we see in our clients. That resilient organization gave us the strength to keep walking.
I have never been prouder of the people who work at HELP USA, and have never been more honored to call myself the President and CEO.
President and CEO, HELP USA
From the beginning of the pandemic, HELP USA has been ahead of the curve in ensuring that our community is safe. Even before the national lockdowns began, our leadership was preparing to adjust our operations, acting swiftly and decisively in the face of uncertainty. As a result, we secured personal protective equipment and established sanitizing protocols and deep cleaning responses before the worst of the pandemic set in, enabling staff to continue our critical work to support people facing poverty and homelessness while minimizing the risk of infection for our clients and residents when fear and stress were at their peak. Thanks to these efforts, the fatality rates in our shelters were lower than both the city’s overall rate and of that of other shelters.
|DC||Walter Reed Veteran Apartments||Permanent|
|MD||HELP Perry Point Veterans Village||Permanent|
|NJ||HELP Broadway Genesis Apartments||Permanent|
|HELP Newark Clinton Avenue Homes|
|Newark Genesis - JBJ Soul Homes|
|NV||HELP Las Vegas Renaissance Apartments||Permanent|
|HELP Las Vegas Genesis Apartments||Transitional|
|HELP Las Vegas Veterans Apartments|
|NY||Crotona Park Pride House||Permanent|
|Genesis Neighborhood Plaza I|
|Genesis Neighborhood Plaza II|
|HELP Bronx Renewal|
|HELP Buffalo I|
|HELP Buffalo II|
|HELP Equity Homes|
|HELP Hollis Garden Apartments|
|HELP Home Simpson|
|HELP Livonia Apartments|
|HELP Woodycrest Veterans Apartments|
|Union Avenue Apartments|
|Brownsville Womens' Center||Transitional|
|HELP 107th Street|
|HELP Bronx-Crotona I|
|HELP Bronx-Crotona II|
|HELP Clarke Thomas|
|HELP Franklin Women's Intake and Assessment|
|HELP Hillside House|
|HELP New Horizons|
|HELP Supportive Employment Center|
|HELP Women's Center|
|WestHELP Mount Vernon|
|PA||HELP Philadelphia I||Permanent|
|The Brady Veterans Center at HELP Philadelphia III|
|The Hardy Williams Veterans Center at HELP Philadelphia IV|
|The Lural Lee Blevins Veterans Center at HELP Philadelphia V|
|The Brig. General Hazel Johnson-Brown Veterans Center at HELP Philadelphia VI|
|HELP Philadelphia II||Transitional|
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, HELP USA was able to continue expanding our affordable housing programs.
Crotona Park Pride House
The Bronx, NY
84 apartments for low-income seniors in an LGBTQ-friendly environment
HELP Livonia Apartments
56 apartments for low-income and formerly homeless families
HELP Philadelphia VI
55 apartments for veterans in a renovated formerly-abandoned school building
HELP Home Simpson
The Bronx, NY
72 apartments for low-income families and formerly homeless adults with mental illness and substance use challenges
Private fundraising plays a critical role in our resiliency as an organization, in our staff’s capacity to innovate and excel, and in our ability to plan for a future where everyone has a place to call home.
Thanks to our long time donors, board members, partners, and a record number of new small donors, the HELP USA Fund raised over $2.75M at the immediate onset of the COVID crisis, providing timely, flexible funding that enabled our massive organization to move nimbly to meet the short and long term needs of the thousands of residents under our roofs and in our programs.
In the face of a “K” shaped recovery in which the low-income communities of color which bore the brunt of COVID19’s impact are experiencing the most lethargic economic recovery of any segment of the population, HELP USA cannot afford to rest.
As we seek a sustained resilience and a changed reality for people living in and on the edge of homelessness, investment in several areas of importance are required.
Through special funds for Permanent Housing Development, Social Innovation, and for the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn where HELP is building on its 30 years of service to the area with a transformational new housing complex and community center, The HELP USA Fund invites partners new and old to help address the legacies of systemic injustices. Together we can build a future of which we can all be proud.
|Service Contracts & Grants||$118,581,833|
|Contributions & Fundraising*||$5,499,551|
|Real Estate Development||$1,735,906|
|Shelter & Community-based Programming||$112,253,971|
|Low-Income & Supportive Housing||$15,866,075|
|Management & General||$11,945,456|
We would like to the thank the following HELP HEROES — our donors — who give generously and relentlessly to help us help one person, and then another, and then another. So far 750,000 and counting since 1986.