Breaking the cycle of systemic poverty in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) is working to address the impact of systemic poverty in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn, New York. Serving over 20,000 residents in need every year, they provide a wide range of services and support to help individuals dealing with poverty and many factors that lead to it, such as homelessness, mental illness, or disabilities. With a foundational belief in “neighbors helping neighbors,” BCS partners with community organizations and engages local leaders to provide educational and job opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and quality and affordable healthcare that help residents become self-sufficient and thrive.
An important aspect of addressing systemic poverty is providing education and job training programs while recognizing the barriers to economic mobility and bringing awareness to advocate against these barriers. These programs help give individuals the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce and break the cycle of poverty. And, because mental health and substance abuse issues can be significant barriers to employment and stability, BCS provides support and services to help them address and overcome these obstacles—while also for systemic change.
Finding affordable housing is another critical need on the path to self-sufficiency. BCS provides safe and stable housing for individuals and families struggling to find a place to live. They also support families facing homelessness by connecting them with resources and services to help them maintain their housing and avoid eviction.
In late 2002, Brooklyn experienced a large influx of people seeking asylum in desperate need of housing, education, and workforce training. BCS’ Shower Bus, which travels throughout Brooklyn offering showers to people experiencing homelessness, saw its usage triple to more than 150 people daily. The Shower Bus offers a chance to get cleaned up and instill a feeling of dignity, but it also serves as an important outreach vehicle, steering individuals to services that can help them get off the street and into stable housing.
A grant from the Maximus Foundation helped BCS continue to meet the growing needs for the Shower Bus. The funding helped BCS keep the Shower Bus fully staffed so that they could continue to offer showers, shampoo, soap, shaving kits, socks and underwear, toilet facilities, laundry services, snacks, and a safe place to relax. The funding also allowed the staff to offer BCS’s full array of social services and programming to comprehensively address a full range of needs.
BCS is doing more than helping to break the cycle of poverty. Their work is rooted in the struggle for social justice and through action and advocacy with a commitment to break down barriers perpetuating inequitable systems as a part of the collective effort for change.
Learn more about how BCS is making a real difference in the lives of Brooklynites struggling to make ends meet.
Giving back to the communities we serve
The Maximus Foundation is one of the ways Maximus employees are doing something greater together. Established by the Maximus Board of Directors in 2000, the Maximus Foundation is an independent, employee-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Employee donors pool their contributions together through the Foundation, increasing their community impact by supporting nonprofits that serve the same communities we do. Employee donors double their impact through Maximus’ dollar-for-dollar matching pledge and make their voices heard by nominating and voting for future grantee partners. Learn more at maximus.com/foundation.