ANNUAL REPORT

20

21

A letter from the Executive Director

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bronx had the highest poverty rate in New York City. By January 2021, vaccinations meant improved safety on the job and in the streets. Still, with the rising cost of living, even full-time wages have proven insufficient for many who face food insecurity, significant rent burden, and homelessness.

In 2021 we served 10,000 more people than in 2019. Many new clients led stable lives before the pandemic, so this was their first time navigating the consequences of poverty. Other clients had already been battling poverty in some cases for years.

POTS welcomed everyone who came to our door with respect and kindness, offering not only food, but also our wide variety of services. We treat our clients as individuals, working with them to help each person and each family improve their lives, according to their needs and wishes for food, personal care, legal and job support. For some clients, our support has led to significant gains in stability. For many others, we continue to help them find new pathways or
restore old ones.

POTS continues to provide holistic services through our three programs:

• Dignity and Wellness: Nearly 3,500 people used our hot shower, haircuts, a secure mail service and access to medical and dental services, as provided by our partner Care for the Homeless.

• Food Security: More than 2,872,000 meals were provided in 2021, through our Community Dining Room and our Pantry.

• Long-term Stability: In 2021, POTS prevented 215 evictions and helped nearly 2,500 clients who continued to face rent in arrears. Our case managers helped more than 14,000 clients access more than $11,600,000 in public benefits such as SNAP and public assistance.

Everything POTS does to serve our clients continues to depend on the enormous generosity of our donors, the people and the organizations that fund our work, and on the caring and tireless efforts of our volunteers and staff.

I am enormously grateful for the amazing, kind and loving community that has brought us to this day. I take new strength from POTS four decades on this journey and look forward with renewed commitment to finding new solutions to help people in need in the Bronx.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

They respect our wellbeing; they know how to keep us safe and there’s more kitchen experience for me here.”

- Wilfredo

If you can’t do something, they find something else for you to do. People like my company. I like their company. I feel like part of the company.”

- Cody

Volunteers from our Food Security Program share their experiences

Much of what we do is possible due to the wonderful support from volunteers and interns. Wilfredo (29) and Cody (30) are two volunteers with POTS for a few years now.

Wilfredo and Cody are two volunteers with POTS that love to help the community and have also found opportunities to grow through their service

Cody also values learning things at POTS, including improving his cooking skills. He appreciates the politeness and flexibility of his managers and feels well-liked as part of the POTS community.

Like Wilfredo and Cody, many POTS volunteers find a group of like-minded people when they get involved with its volunteer opportunities. As Wilfredo explains, “POTS is a good place. The people are very kind. When you have a question, they will give a straight up answer. They are there for you”.

Our Dignity and Wellness Team

Christopher Minaya, Dignity and Wellness Program Manager and Ariel Baez, Substance Abuse Counselor have lived in the Bronx their whole lives and always counted on POTS being available even during the pandemic. They see the spirit of Dignity & Wellness as empathy.

Chris tells about, a long-standing client, “He was living on the street and came to us for a shower. I was able to give him a sense of family (…). When he broke his arm, we got him to a clinic. We connected him with long term substance abuse rehab. After we picked him up from rehab, he wanted to share his good news with me.”

Covid and the pandemic increased homelessness in the city and substance abuse as a coping mechanism for many vulnerable people. Ariel is a case manager with more than 15 years of education and experience dealing with clients struggling with substance abuse. He says “I grew up in the Bronx and see substance abuse and lack of support, people in such need, hurt and pain. This is my calling, fulfilling for me and a priority to give back to my community. I see how far we can bounce back as a community.”

Chris and Ariel both agree they see people in the community not knowing where to go. But they are also committed to play a role in improving the lives of their clients:

“Clients are not alone, we are walking with them side by side…The people we help are often helpless. We offer a safe space to shower. We call them by their name, and listen to them. We tell them It’s OK to start over, just let me know what I can do to help.”

“I want to be here and want to continue helping this community.”

Our Case Management Supervisor’s View of the Pandemic

Theresa Havelka knows POTS top to bottom and is particularly well prepared to help clients in all the ways we can. She first came to POTS as a volunteer, and she soon started to work in the pantry, dining room and mail services. In June 2020, she was hired as a case manager.

During the pandemic, she saw a “ton of new clients” come to POTS for the first time seeking food for themselves and their families. She also saw long term clients who had been living paycheck to paycheck with some savings but weren’t as stable as they thought. People lost their jobs, got behind on bills and housing is always expensive. 

“It was disheartening to see lots of boundaries to keep people from reaching stability, at least to the point we all hope for.”

She had a first-time client who lost his job with a taxi service in a car accident. She worked with Legal Services to support his housing and income in a quick turnaround that enabled him to get back to work.  She says it is “great when we can provide some direction in the beginning.”

Meet Naomi Quelal,
Family Mentor

As a Family Mentor, Naomi helps low-income families with children to set personal goals and receive life coaching. Most of her clients are Spanish speaking including recent asylum seekers. With Naomi´s help, POTS offers them tools to help navigate New York City.

If her clients wish, (…) Naomi helps them set up long-term plans and she celebrates when they achieve milestones.

“Clients find it a very humanizing experience”.

One of Naomi’s recent clients came to POTS for learning services for her children. POTS engaged her daughter with speech therapy and enabled her children to participate in a summer school program. Naomi helped the mother get into an English as a Second Language program so now she, too, is motivated to learn more. And when Naomi discovered that the family was facing eviction, she worked with POTS legal team to get needed benefits from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

Naomi embraces the mission of POTS. She identifies strongly with the families who are working so hard on their way to long-term stability.

Our Impact in 2021

0

Meals

Provided through lunch service and pantry.

0

People served

$ 0

in economic value to the

community

Approximately one-third of Bronx residents are currently living below the poverty line and this year alone, POTS will help close to 36,000 people with a multitude of needs.

POTS’ services address the varying issues and complexities that accompany poverty by helping clients find stability across such areas as financial wellbeing, health, education, housing and day-to-day needs. By providing comprehensive and personalized support to our clients, we are able to address their unique circumstances and help navigate a pathway forward.

In 2021, POTS maintained its commitment to addressing the emergent needs of the community and providing consistent services to clients that continue to face the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Through POTS’ Dignity and Wellness Services, nearly 3,500 people accessed mail
    facilities (crucial to secure access to public benefits), as well as receiving shower and
    haircut services as part of our belief that everyone deserves access to resources to attend
    their personal care.
  • POTS’ Food Security Programs provided more than 2,872,000 total meals.
    This is more than what was distributed in 2020 and more than double than 2019.
  • POTS’ Legal Clinic prevented 215 evictions and continues to work to ensure the stability
    of nearly 2,500 clients who are facing rent arrears that in many cases has been
    accumulating since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The case managers at POTS’ Long-Term Stability Program helped more than 14,000
    clients access over $11,600,000 in public benefits, such as SNAP benefits and public
    assistance.

Financials

Thanks to the support of our donors, we maintained a strong financial position throughout
2021. Our commitment to using donated funds efficiently has paid off in low management
and fundraising costs.

REVENUE

Individuals & Community Groups$1,318,000
Government$1,527,000
Foundations & Corporations$2,103,000
Special Events$864,000
In-kind$1,225,000
Other$383,000
TOTAL REVENUES$$7,421,000

EXPENSES

Food service programs$2,973,000
Day-to-day services$2,100,000
Next-step services$314,000
Management and General$473,000
Fundraising$576,000
TOTAL EXPENSES$$6,437,000

PART OF THE SOLUTION AND AFFILIATE AUDITED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES

ASSETS2021
ASSETS2021
Cash and cash equivalent$8,184,778
Restricted cash$2,673,735
Investments$284,867
Contributions and grants receivable$974,260
Prepaid expenses and other assets$62,760
Property and equipment, net$5,902,177
ASSETS$18,867,899
LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS2021
LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS2021
LIABILITIES
Accounts payable and accrued expenses$160,957
Deferred revenue$397,501
LIABILITIES$558,458
NET ASSETS2021
NET ASSETS2021
Without donor restrictions
Undesignated$13,234,679
Board designated for capital campaign$1,650,000
Total net assets without donor restrictions$14,884,679
With donor restrictions$3,424,762
NET ASSETS$18,309,441
LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS$18,867,899

PART OF THE SOLUTION AND AFFILIATE AUDITED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES

OPERATING REVENUE WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS
OPERATING REVENUE WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS2021
Contributions$1,272,035
Government Grans$1,453,891
Foundations and corporate contributions$1,024,452
Special events, net of expenses$864,415
In-kind contributions$1,225,317
Investment income$34,707
Miscellaneous income$348,513
OPERATING REVENUE WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS$6,223,330
OPERATING REVENUE WITH RESTRICTIONS
OPERATING REVENUE WITH RESTRICTIONS
Contributions$46,320
Government Gifts$72,328
Foundations and corporate contributions$1,078,300
OPERATING REVENUE WITH RESTRICTIONS$1,197,358
Expenses
EXPENSES
Food security program$2,973,353
Long Term Stability Program$2,100,433
Dignity and Wellness Program$314,063
Management and general$515,269
Fundraising$575,667
EXPENSES$6,478,785
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS
Change in net assets$983,978
Net Assets released from restriction$1,361,490
Change in net assets with donor restriction-$164,132