Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation sees an important part of its mission to “improve the quality of life” for those in Central Brooklyn. In this day and age it seems that there is no better way to do this than by helping people with their economic situations.
Doing just that is Restoration’s Economic Solutions Center, a team devoted to helping everyone who walks through their doors. The Solutions Center is headed by Jako Borren, the Director of Program Operations, who, with his team of professionals, gives personal attention to the thousands of clients who come see them each year.
Tackling the multi-faceted beast of economic instability with a holistic approach, the Economic Solutions Center has four components that work in tandem: social services, financial services, employment services, and education. Explaining this approach, Jako Borren says, “We work towards creating self-sufficiency by providing financial stability through income supports and financial education and at the same time work on career advancements by addressing educational aspirations and connecting our customers to job opportunities.
“When someone comes in, we really look at their individual situation to determine how we can best serve them with a customized mix of services.”
If social services is what the client needs, the Solutions Center offers benefits screening and enrollment, legal services, and help with applications. If financial services is what’s beneficial to the client, the Center has financial one-on-one coaching and workshops to get you back on track, as well as assistance in improving credit scores, increasing savings, and even tax preparation.
The education component connects individuals to educational programs that lead to career advancement. Employment services offers job readiness and life skills training and job referrals. The approach pays off since over the past year alone the Economic Solutions Center secured benefits totaling $4.3 million, helped families reduce debt for more than $1.5 million, and placed close to 350 individuals in jobs last year.
One of the customers of Restoration’s Economic Solutions Center said it as follows: “I was really in a bad place when I came to Restoration and lost hope sort of, but the staff here gave me the confidence to take the next step to get a job and my money in order.”
With the variety of services offered, it’s not surprising that the Economic Solutions Center reaches myriads of people from seniors to veterans to the youth. What is surprising is the Economics Solutions Center’s zeal to serve even more while continuously providing excellent quality of service. Within the past year, the Economic Solution Center has doubles its capacity with a new initiative to serve residents of public housing — Jobs-Plus — which is now ranked as the top performing site in New York.
Now the Center is looking to add a vocational component to its list of services. “So far what we’ve really been focusing on is getting employment to those without jobs. But now what we really want to do is gear towards a career path,” says Borren.
“We want to start incorporating vocational training so people can improve their skills and make career steps. I see the future of the Economics Solutions Center to be the go-to place for economic success.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of BK Reader.