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APM Celebrates 50 Years and Counting

February 10, 2020

Contact:  Barbara Beck

bbeck@sage-communications.com

215-209-3076, 610-246-9167 (cell)

 

 

APM CELEBRATES 50 YEARS AND COUNTING

Landmark anniversary to unfold throughout the year with new initiatives, community events and a star-studded speaker series

PHILADELPHIA—(February 3, 2020)—In 1970, a group of Puerto Rican veterans of the Vietnam War returned home to Philadelphia and saw that many basic social services were unavailable to the city’s Hispanic residents. They founded the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (Association of Puerto Ricans on the Move or APM) with the goal of bringing these services and other opportunities to the community. Still going strong in 2020, APM is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a yearlong slate of special events and programs.

Today’s APM serves more than 40,000 people a year and runs programs in housing assistance, employment training, physical and mental health, early childhood education, family counseling and other community services.

“This is a remarkable milestone for the residents of the neighborhoods we serve,” said Nilda Ruiz, APM’s president and chief executive officer. “APM has now brought life-programs to thousands of people. We’re everywhere our families are, and we never stop innovating and growing. That’s what keeps us timeless.”

Throughout 2020, APM will bring people together around the lessons that it has lived by: everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, is equally deserving of respect and opportunity.

Throughout 2020, the anniversary will bring people together through social impact initiatives and community events that reflect APM’s unifying messages.

One highlight will be APM’s 2020 Speaker Series, featuring thought leaders, experts and activists in public panel discussions on key current issues. The panels will be held at WHYY (150 N 6th Street) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available at APM’s website at apmphila.org; go to the “Newsroom and Events” tab and click on “APM Speaker Series.”

The series will include the following panels:

  • Behavioral Health: Actress and author Mackenzie Phillips will speak at a Feb. 13 panel on behavioral health issues facing communities, including access to mental health care, substance abuse and rising suicide rates. This discussion will bring together professionals in health care and academia with public policy and community stakeholders.

  • Education: Sonia Manzano, who brought a Latina voice to “Sesame Street” as “Maria” from 1971 to 2015, will join panelists discussing early childhood education on March 19. Panelists will identify the best tools and resources as APM invests in children and their families.

  • Community and Economic Development: John Quinones, an ABC News correspondent and host of “What Would You Do?”, will highlight a panel of experts on community and economic development on April 22. Non-profit organizations throughout Philadelphia have worked for decades to create homeownership, affordable rentals and economic opportunities for low-income residents. This panel will examine the effectiveness of these efforts.

  • Child Protective Services: Child safety activist Elizabeth Smart joins a panel on child protective care services on May 21. Those in the foster care community work to improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families. Nonetheless, children in foster care often experience long-lasting trauma. This panel will look at possibilities and solutions.

Another key event in APM’s 50th anniversary year will be the annual Sugar Cane Festival on June 13. The festival is a family day of music, dance, food and culture, and is considered the unofficial “start of summer” for Latino Philly. Attendees can listen to live musical performances and dance to salsa, merengue, cumbia, afrobeat, reggaeton, soca and more. APM staff at the event will provide community residents information about the organization’s services.

The celebration of APM’s achievements culminates with the 50th Anniversary Gala on September 19.

APM began with a staff of five in a Germantown Avenue storefront. Today, nearly 400 multilingual professionals offer a range of services at 13 sites throughout North Philadelphia, transforming neighborhoods in the area.

In housing, APM has developed more than 160 ownership units and 200 safe, affordable rental units. APM counselors have helped families obtain financial assistance for housing and aided homeowners in repairing credit and avoiding foreclosures. Through private and government partnerships, APM stabilized 20 acres of housing that resulted in an investment of $70 million into the neighborhood east of Temple University. Thanks to its housing program, 114 formerly homeless families (256 people) have received permanent supportive housing.

Through its Early Childhood Education initiatives, APM has placed 610 three- and four-year-old children in high-quality preschools and many in before- and after-care centers. Last year, APM’s early childhood education students showed remarkable progress. At the beginning of the year, 64 percent were below expectations in literacy, with 61 percent below expectations in math. By the end, 85 percent met or exceeded expectations in literacy and 75 percent in math.

At two clinics, APM health professionals provide bilingual diagnoses and treatment to address the community’s mental health and well-being through individual and family counseling sessions. Multiple clinic locations offer substance abuse treatment, including individual assessments, behavioral therapy and medically assisted recovery.

APM employment counselors help job seekers with resume preparation and interviewing skills. Group workshops have focused on computer, financial literacy and English as a Second Language.

“We are often asked what APM’s legacy will be,” said Ruiz, who was born in Philadelphia after her parents moved to the city from Puerto Rico. “To me, a legacy is when something is over, and this isn’t over.”

“APM has a profound impact on the lives of North Philadelphia residents, setting a template that other organizations have followed now for a generation,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Fifty years later, APM continues to deliver on its mission every day, in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city.”

Sponsors of APM’s 2020 anniversary celebration events include villaNOVA Insurance Partners, Goya Foods, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Fox Rothschild LLP and Temple University.

To learn more, visit apmphila.org and follow along with the hashtag #APMTurns50 and @APMForEveryone on Twitter and Instagram.

APM is 1 of 6 Organizations Improving Their Neighborhood with Community Connectors 1/2/2020

January 7, 2020

 

APM is 1 of 6 Organizations Improving Their Neighborhood with Community Connectors

LISC Philadelphia’s Community Connectors Program and Institute trains residents who are employed by participating community-based organizations in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia.

The Community Connectors Program and Institute is a part of LISC Philadelphia’s community development efforts to engage neighborhood residents. LISC, a national community development organization, has offices across the country. LISC Philadelphia provides funding and technical assistance to the program, which is made up of six community-based organizations:

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)

HACE CDC

Impact Services Corporation

New Kensington CDC (NKCDC)

People’s Emergency Center

The Village of Arts & Humanities

The organizations identify potential Connectors from their volunteers. When a volunteer accepts the position, they are referred to the institute.

 

To Read the Article Click Here: 

APM Medical Director contributes to Psychiatric News 1/1/2020

January 6, 2020

APM for Everyone’s very own Dr. Hector Colon-Rivera contributed to the nationally publised Psychiatric News that was released on January 1, 2020.  The article is titled “APA Foundation Revamps Program To Help Students With MH Problems”.  The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Typical or Troubled? program educates school personnel on the warning signs of mental health problems in students and how to help.  The redeveloped Typical or Troubled? program includes an electronic learning module so participants can ask more informed questions during the in-person training session, says Hector Colon-Rivera, M.D.  Dr. Hector Colon-Rivera stated “We’re here to prevent mental illness, not just treat mental illness,”

 

Click Here to Read the Article: 

 

Ally Financial Donates 450+ Toys to APM

December 11, 2019

Photo taken by Christina Figueroa on 12/10/19

APM is very grateful for the very generous donation provided by Ally Financial.  Since Monday, December 1o, 2019 we have received toy shipments from Ally Financial which equates to 450+ toys and youth financial literacy books.  The thoughtfulness to help others is always appreciated and we are thankful for Ally Financial.  The many children within our foster care, resource homes and early childhood education centers are going to be excited.

Lamont Jefferson Named as Winner of the 2019 Hubsmith Safe Routes Champion Award

October 22, 2019

The Safe Routes Partnership is proud to announce Lamont Jefferson of Philadelphia as the winner of the 2019 Hubsmith Safe Routes Champion Award. This national award recognizes outstanding leadership and vision, impact on advancing Safe Routes to School, and skills in building coalitions and political will to ensure safe, healthy, and equitable outcomes for children and community members. The award is given in honor of Deb Hubsmith, founding director of the Safe Routes Partnership, who dedicated her life and career to building the Safe Routes to School movement.

Click Here to Read Article

 

How can Philadelphia’s point-in-time count do a better job of counting families?

January 25, 2019

Generocity.com January 25, 2019

This is a guest post by Daniel Farrell, SVP of homeless prevention and rehousing services at Help USA; Joe Willard, VP of policy at People’s Emergency Center; and Rachel Falkove, executive director of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network.

Three homeless service pros describe the limitations of current tracking methods and advocate for better data sharing across city agencies.

The number of homeless children and families are systemically undercounted in Philadelphia.

On the night of Jan. 23, hundreds of Philadelphians canvassed the city counting homeless people. The annual effort, known as the point-in-time count, attempts to quantify homelessness throughout the country. Mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) since 2005, its flawed methodology has not changed since its inception.

It relies on volunteers to canvas geographic areas in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. It does not count families living in substandard housing. It does not count families living with others, often in unsafe situations, due to severe economic hardship. It does not count children displaced and temporarily staying with relatives or friends because their parent or parents are in shelter. It does not count families sleeping in their car or in abandoned buildings.

[Editor’s note: Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services Director Liz Hershacknowledged this limitation in a Jan. 23 press release announcing the annual count. “We recognize that many people who are living doubled up or in extremely unstable situations need help,” she said, “and we welcome a serious conversation about what the reality is facing millions of Americans — and thousands of Philadelphians. Tonight, we are focusing on one component of America’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis.”]

Emblematic of the issue are Bruce and Jen, who were living on limited income raising their three children. When Bruce was injured at his job, they were unable to pay rent from Jen’s income alone and lost their housing. While bouncing around between relatives and friends’ homes, they applied to shelter on two occasions, but both times the shelter system was full and were denied entry. They stayed in the homeless shelter of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN), a faith-based nonprofit serving families experiencing homelessness.

After three years of couch surfing and close to one year in PIHN’s shelter, they moved into their own rental unit with PIHN’s assistance.

“We were homeless for four years, but had hope for only the last one of those years,” Jen said. “We lived a three-year nightmare.”

Their “uncounted” homelessness left a damaging and traumatic mark on the family as their children were repeatedly displaced from their school, and Bruce fell into a deep depression and developed chronic medical issues. Throughout their first three years of homelessness, Bruce, Jen and their four children were never tallied in the point-in-time counts.

They are not alone.

Statistics of the number of families experiencing homelessness vary widely. For example, Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services and the School District of Philadelphia paint an entirely different picture of the number of school-age homeless children and youth.

The HUD-funded homeless service system in Philadelphia counted 2,749 children and youth in Fiscal Year 2018. At the same time, the School District of Philadelphia counted 7,228 students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. That is an astounding 260 percent higher rate of homelessness than the Office of Homeless Services shows.

What is happening to the 4,479 children who are not being counted? We do know that third graders experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia score only half as well as their peers on testing, suggesting future costs in remedial education, greater truancy and dropout rates. These are boys and girls, living in our city, without the security of knowing where they’ll sleep tonight.

Why does this matter?

HUD, the federal agency responsible for dispersing hundreds of millions of dollars across the country for homeless services, use the point-in-time count to determine funding allocations. Undercounting family homeless is analogous to undercounting of the general population in the census. Millions of dollars in federal funding are left on the table and families like Bruce and Jen are routinely invisible to the system that is designed to assist them. Unless a family is officially counted as homeless, they are not eligible for an array of housing-based services which helps hundreds of homeless Philadelphians into permanent housing each year.

Federal officials, as well as some researchers, argue the definition of homelessness should be narrowly defined. Currently, it is defined as living in a place not meant for human habitation or in a publicly funded shelter. Why should a family have to be admitted to a homeless shelter to be counted as homeless? Additionally, the shelter system operates at capacity, routinely turning away families from shelter, as Bruce and Jen experienced.

The city has the capacity to aggregate data across agencies to accurately uncover the number of homeless families and their children. It must now have the will to do so. Properly counting incidence of homelessness for families is an important step to adequately addressing and ultimately solving the issue.

Signed by:

  • Family Services Provider Network
  • Daniel Farrell, HELP USA
  • Rachel Falkove, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network
  • Joe Willard, People’s Emergency Center

Original Article: https://generocity.org/philly/2019/01/25/how-can-philadelphias-point-in-time-count-do-a-better-job-of-counting-families-homelessness/

WHYY: As Philly tallies homeless population, advocates say families are overlooked

January 24, 2019

A coalition of more than a dozen advocacy groups for the homeless in Philadelphia is demanding the city keep better track of the families and children experiencing homelessness or in unstable housing.

Their pleas come as hundreds of people survey Philadelphia’s streets, looking for anyone sleeping in places unsuitable for human habitation, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The annual canvassing began Wednesday night to supply HUD with the data to evaluate progress in tackling homelessness. The findings also influence the resources directed at the issue.

But the numbers don’t take into account all the families who are living outside shelters and off the streets in other unstable housing arrangements, advocates say.

“A couch is not a bed,” said Jason Miller, CEO of Families Forward Philadelphia, a group that helps provide families with emergency shelter.

“It is vital to shine light on the hidden nature of family homelessness since the point-in-time count findings are being used to define and shape our city’s response,” Miller said.

Advocates and Council members including Bill Greenlee, Helen Gym and Allan Domb are calling for the city’s Office of Homeless Services to partner with the school district to collect and share data on students experiencing homelessness.

They’re also asking that the city track the number of people seeking aid at homeless shelters who are turned away.

Finally, they want City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration to fund shelters to meet the needs of homeless families, fund more homeless prevention programs and prioritize the creation of affordable housing.

According to point-in-time counts in the city, the number of households with one adult and at least one child experiencing homelessness has slowly declined over recent years.

While the city reports having served more than 2,700 children, advocates say, the Philadelphia School District reported more than 7,200 of its students lacked regular nighttime housing.

For Bruce Thomas, the oversight is personal. He said he and his family experienced unstable housing for 10 years, and while he didn’t meet the official definition of being homeless, he felt like it.

After a work-related injury, Thomas, his wife and four children stayed with different family members so they wouldn’t be sent to separate homeless shelters.

“It’s the people that you don’t see, that need the help also,” Thomas said. “Like they didn’t see me, they didn’t know about me and my family for 10 years.”

Part of the problem is how HUD defines homelessness, according to advocates and City Council members. But the city can do some things to shed light on the scope of families at risk of losing their housing, they say.

“It probably falls on the city even more so because, clearly, the federal government is not doing what we feel is needed in a number of ways to help the most vulnerable people, so it’s on us to do what we can,” said Councilman Greenlee.

Greenlee said, while he can’t get into specifics of how much funding could be allocated to meet the needs of these families, it will be a priority this budget cycle.

Liz Hersh, director of the city’s Office of Homeless Services, said a national conversation about homelessness is long overdue.

“We applaud our local homeless providers and advocates for raising the issue and trying to jump-start a conversation about family homelessness that is a national crisis,” she said.

Locally, she said, the city has released a five-year strategic plan where a top priority is to increase resources to the most vulnerable people.

Original Story: https://whyy.org/articles/as-philadelphia-counts-people-experiencing-homeless-advocates-say-families-arent-accurately-represented/

 

KYW: Hidden homelessness: What overnight census of people living on the street misses

January 23, 2019

January 23, 2019 KYW Radio- by Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An army of volunteers will fan out across Philadelphia Tuesday night to count the number of people sleeping on the street. The annual Point-in-Time Count is required for funding by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but advocates note it overlooks a hidden part of the homeless population.

Bruce Thomas wrenched his back on the job and, within four months, got evicted from the home where he, his wife and four children had lived for 13 years.

“First, we went to my sister’s for a few months. And when we left her house, we went to Delaware, where my wife stayed with her family and I moved back to Philadelphia and stayed in my car,” Thomas said.

Thomas never lived in the street and didn’t use the shelter system because the family would have been split up. But he considered himself and his family homeless.

Jason Miller of the Family Service Provider Network says families like the Thomases – that are couch surfing or living in cars – don’t get counted, which means many of them don’t get services.

“The FSPN believes it’s vital to shine a light on the hidden nature of family homelessness, since the Point-in-Time Count is being used to define the unmet need and shape our city’s response,” Miller said.

Office of Homeless Services director Liz Hersh agreed.

“Street homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg,” she added.

Last year’s Point-in-Time Count found some 1,500 homeless children under 18 in Philadelphia; 17 actually sleeping on the street and more than 1,400 in the shelter system.

But Miller says the school district reported 7,000 students who lacked a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence.

“Those are children living in our community without the security of knowing where they’ll sleep tonight, if they will be safe or whether they’ll have a hot meal or dinner,” he said.

Hersh says the city does use other data, but the federal government recognizes only street homelessness and shelter residents for its programs.

“That’s why we’ve tripled our homelessness prevention (budget) because we understand those needs are tremendous. There’s way more needs, obviously, than we can meet,” she said.

Council members Helen Gym, Bill Greenlee and Allan Domb promised to include more money in this year’s budget.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mis-stated the number of homeless children in the shelter system.

 

Original Story: https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/hidden-homelessness-what-overnight-census-people-living-street-misses

Univision 65: Government Shutdown Assistance Story

January 23, 2019

January 22, 2019 Univison 65
Government Shutdown Assistance

The City of Philadelphia will offer help for federal workers during government closure.
Univision 65 Genaro Tijerina presents the following report.

VILLAGE VIEW: Project focuses on improving health care for immigrant communities

January 17, 2019

From Main Line Times

Jan 16, 2019

“It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight — it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

If you ever attended Ardmore Junior High School when Principal Edward Snow was in charge, you heard him shout out this mantra all the time. If you watched any of the recent Eagles wins, you would have thought about Mr. Snow and his adage — a lot.

It’s funny how certain sayings and thoughts, especially poems, pop up often to the surface of your brain. As I write this column, my editor, Thomas Celona, had forwarded to me an email request from a research scientist, Dr. Michael Liebman, who had found an article from 2009 which I had written for the Main Line Times about the wonderful late Dr. William Glicksman.

Since Liebman had been a student at the Overbrook Folkshul under Dr. Glicksman, he did some more googling and found information on Dr. Allen Glicksman, the son who is a researcher at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. And thus began a collaboration to understand better the health care needs of older adults in Philadelphia, particularly in the two largest growing aging groups, Spanish-speaking and Mandarin-speaking.

The email made me think of Emily Dickinson’s poem, “A Word dropped careless on a Page …” I mean, you never know what will happen when you consign your thoughts to paper. Or computer. Or who will discover your words and what he or she will do with them once found.

I emailed Dr. Michael Liebman and asked if he would be kind enough to let me interview him for my column. He was! And he was very generous with his time as well. Turns out he had grown up in Penn Wynne, was a graduate of Lower Merion High School, had been the first recipient of the Lower Merion Scholarship, which he used to attend Drexel Institute of Technology (as it was called back then), and he was about to embark on an important research project in partnership with Dr. Glicksman at PCA.

In 2012, Liebman started ipqanalytics with a partner, who is no longer active, Torsten Geers, a Main Liner. They help pharma companies — from developing new drugs, to improving clinical trials, to understanding how to make their drugs more effective and who will benefit from them.

Dr. Liebman has some very interesting titles: adjunct professor of pharmacology and physiology, Drexel College of Medicine; adjunct professor of medicine, First Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China; and invited professor, SCBIT Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai, China.

He does not speak Chinese, but he told me that most of his Chinese colleagues speak English, and many of his students do, as well, so he has easy access to translators. He travels to China twice a year.

Liebman was with Wyeth and Roche, where he served as global head of genomics at Roche.

Liebman also works with a Norwegian pediatric rare disease foundation, The Nathaniel Adamczyk Foundation, which is interested in pediatric ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).

Dr. Glicksman is director of research and evaluation at PCA, with an undergraduate degree from Temple and a PhD in sociology from Penn. He has a colleague at PCA, Lauren Ring, who is also working on the project. The Borchard Foundation is funding the initial research, which will allow them to run four focus groups, two in each community they wish to study — Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) and at the Philadelphia Senior Center, the Coffee Cup (for Chinese) — and they will translate results. They will be asking them their needs, what services they know are available, how do they learn about services, how do they choose.

Despite the chaotic situation at the Mexico-U.S. border, the biggest change that’s coming is that the number of white and English-speaking older adults is declining and the number of Spanish and Chinese-speaking older adults is increasing. The majority of the Spanish-speaking population are from Puerto Rico, then the Dominican Republic. The grant started Jan. 15. Then they have to go through human subjects review.

Some of the questions they are planning to use on the focus groups are: Is there a native language newspaper? TV station? A social media channel?

We look forward to hearing about the results of their research and hope for better outcomes for health care in our immigrant communities.

Bonnie Squires is a communications consultant who writes weekly for Main Line Media News and can be reached at bonniesquires.com. She hosts the “Bonnie’s Beat” TV show at Radnor Studio 21 and Main Line Television.

 

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