Organization Name: Chhaya Community Development Corporation
Project Title: Rising Together: Building the Assets of our Community
Project Location: Jackson Heights, Queens, NY
Chhaya CDC’s Asset Building program mission seeks to build economic security for low-to-moderate income South Asian immigrant population in New York City through a set of direct services, organizing community power and by bringing disconnected voices together to help achieve self-sustainability, as well as build financial advocacy. The over-arching goal of this program is to organize and assist low- and moderate-income immigrant New Yorkers to achieve, protect and preserve assets and create pathways for inter-generational wealth building, foster entrepreneurship, and build a community of self-advocating and financially secure individuals.
The program includes the following: • Comprehensive benefits screening; • Individual coaching on financial capability; • ESOL classes; • Career coaching to attain livable wage jobs; • Connecting to resources for entrepreneurship and small business development • Financial education on building and managing credit and savings; • Peer lending circles that allow individuals to take small loans to build or improve credit; • Peer support group • Tax filing assistance • Citizenship application assistance. Concepts shared in our workshops are reinforced through individual coaching that focuses on the specific economic needs of each participant. By introducing key financial concepts and promoting awareness of economic resources, this program gives participants the tools to stabilize and eventually improve household financial situations. The program is critical to building economically independent and thriving individuals in our low income communities.
South Asian immigrants, one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in New York City, are more likely to live in poverty than other New Yorkers; and, along with other immigrants, face barriers when participating in the formal economy and accessing mainstream financial services. Building financial capability and security through education, counseling and advocacy are key to ensuring their long-term economic sustainability which can unleash a world of opportunity to move up the economic ladder in our society and eventually become vocal advocates for themselves and their community in the civic arena of our nation. After participating in the Asset Building Program, we expect participants to gain the skills and confidence to achieve their economic goals. They will be able to communicate in the English language that will help them navigate the market, and negotiate with employers and have the tools that will allow them to become active economic and civic agents of our society.
Founded in 2000, Chhaya’s mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Chhaya carries out its mission by providing free direct services, education and outreach, community organizing and advocacy, and building both local and citywide coalitions.