Community program

New community program in eastern New York to help residents in need

There is a brand new program for the residents of Eastern New York and Brownsville that addresses the deprivation of civil rights caused by the pandemic.

ICL Connects, running out of Institute for Community Living’s Eastern New York Health Center, provides people with housing support, nutritious meals, health care and mental health services.

ICL is a New York City nonprofit that works in the five boroughs to help people with mental illness, addictions, and developmental disabilities lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

David Matthews (left) is the ICL Connects program director at ICL, and Dimitri Davis (right) is a pastor and care navigator for ICL Connects. Photo: Courtesy of ICL.

In January, ICL became one of the first grant recipients of the new Mother Cabrini Foundation for Health. With this, the ICL Connects program was created to help residents of eastern New York and Brownsville who are undocumented, uninsured, unemployed, homeless and starving.

Former East New York resident Gerardo Ramos, ICL’s senior vice president for integrated care and family and youth services, oversees the new program.

Gérard Ramos. Photo: Courtesy of ICL.

?? Because our program is really open, it allows us to fill in gaps that other programs cannot provide, ?? Ramos said.

“If someone does not have access to public assistance, we can provide them with money to buy groceries. In addition to housing, health and legal support, we even tackle issues like lack of transportation, social activities, etc. All the things that make up a healthy person. ??

Ramos said the program served more than 180 people in eastern New York City and Brownsville last month. ICL Connects was proud to put together a plan for anyone who stepped through its doors, whatever their needs, Ramos said.

?? If someone comes in and says, ?? I have a problem with my landlord, ?? we work with them to provide support, and sometimes help with security deposits and rent, ?? Ramos said. This program is a really important community resource. And it’s free for customers.

For ICL Connects Care Navigator and former East New York resident Ana Miguel, this work is personal.

ICL East New York Health Hub welcome desk. Photo: Courtesy of ICL.

?? I was a drug addict, so at the time nothing mattered, ?? Miguel said. But today, in my life, everything counts, my education, my job, my clients. My customers come first, why? Because I am one of them.

Miguel, who worked at ICL for a few years before being promoted to this new program, now holds two university degrees and said that ICL had offered to sponsor its next step, a one-year master’s program.

Some of his clients have followed in his footsteps and now also have university degrees.

?? I couldn’t be prouder ??? Miguel said.

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