Press Release

NYCHA Contact: | (212) 306-3322

Citi Contact: | (212) 793-0710


$1.4M Citi Investment Supports Jobs, Entrepreneurship & Financial Counseling
Launches 1st NYCHA Resident Worker Cooperative with Urban Upbound

NEW YORK – New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and Citi today announced “Doorways to Opportunity,” a multi-partner initiative that provides public housing residents across New York with access to employment opportunities, free financial counseling and entrepreneurship training in partnership with community organizations.

With $1.4 million in funding from Citi Community Development,  established community organizations – including The Brownsville Partnership with Community Solutions, Food Bank For New York City, Hot Bread Kitchen, University Neighborhood Housing Program, CAMBA and Urban Upbound – are collaborating with City agencies – including NYCHA, the New York City Department of Small Business Services, New York City Economic Development Corporation and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity – to create a supportive network of services that can provide some of New York City’s lowest income residents with tools and opportunities for economic advancement.

“Partners like Citi have played a critical role in helping link our residents with targeted economic opportunities.” said Shola Olatoye, NYCHA’s CEO and Chair. “By connecting our residents with the tools and programs to empower themselves and their families with financial stability, we strengthen the fabric of our communities and the entire City.”

“NYCHA residents comprise approximately 5% of New York City’s population, about the number of people who reside in all of Boston – the opportunity for outreach and impact is enormous,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development. “By founding this program on cross-sector partnerships, driven by data and designed in response to local demands, ‘Doorways to Opportunity’ can become a replicable model.”

Today, the “Doorways to Opportunity” collaboration also announces the launch of the first worker cooperative for NYCHA residents, On Point Security, where employees are also business owners. The security firm will serve and protect the expanding Hallets Point neighborhood, with the guidance of Urban Upbound. Urban Upbound is a non-profit organization that works to connect public housing residents with the resources to break cycles of poverty.

“Strengthening communities from the bottom-up—by the people for the people—can alleviate the pervasive cycle of unemployment and underemployment in public housing neighborhoods. OnPoint Security will be the first of several worker owned businesses created by Urban Upbound, with the goal of widespread expansion and replication in other public housing neighborhoods throughout NYC. This new concept of ‘Work to Own’ will reshape the model of wealth creation for underserved communities,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, co-founder and chief executive, Urban Upbound.

Several of the programs in the initiative are already well underway. Additional “Doorways to Opportunity” programs include:

  • Job Placement: Brownsville Partnership is coordinating a 5,000 jobs campaign as the anchor for several other community services that bring together partners around the single goal of increasing employment in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn by 30%.
  • Financial Capability: University Neighborhood Housing Program has expanded its financial capability services to NYCHA residents through its Northwest Bronx Resource Center.
  • Workforce Development: The New York City Department of Small Business Services, CAMBA, and CEO are expanding place-based economic empowerment and mobility to connect Far Rockaway residents with high-quality, full-time employment. Expanded services will include assessments, career counseling, resume and interview development, connections to training, financial counseling, screening and referral to employment opportunities, and more. The service will be fully integrated into the Far Rockaway community through a strong network of community-based organizations, workforce development providers, training providers, faith-based organizations, and social service agencies.
  • Technology Tools: NYCHA Information Technology and NYCHA Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability are launching a new technology platform to connect residents to vetted economic opportunity services.
  • Entrepreneurship Training: Food Business Pathways Program, in partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Hot Bread Kitchen and Start Small Think Big, will enable 90 NYCHA food entrepreneurs to advance their businesses through training, coaching, access to free permits and licenses, and subsidized incubator space.
  • Tax &Support Services: NYCHA Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability and Food Bank For New York City are expanding NYCHA resident access to free tax preparation services and SNAP screenings. This partnership has already served thousands of NYCHA residents during the 2014 tax season.

About New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
The New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. To that end, NYCHA administers a Conventional Public Housing Program as well as a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments, together serving more than 600,000 New Yorkers. NYCHA, through its Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES), develops and implements programs, policies, and partnerships, to measurably support residents’ increased income and assets, in four key areas: Business Development, Financial Literacy and Asset Building, Employment and Advancement, and Adult Education and Training. Learn more at and on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, @NYCHA.

About Citi
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | | Blog: | Facebook: | LinkedIn:

About Brownsville Partnership
The Brownsville Partnership engages residents and partner organizations from many sectors in measurably improving the health, safety and economic prosperity of the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. Coordinated by Community Solutions, the Partnership builds on Brownsville's considerable strengths to find solutions to its most pressing challenges. Community Solutions is an international non-profit organization working toward a future without homelessness, where poverty never follows families beyond a single generation. We adapt the best tools and technologies from multiple sectors to help communities solve their most urgent social problems.

CAMBA is one of New York City’s largest and most impactful human services organizations, reaching 45,000 New Yorkers annually across the five boroughs. CAMBA’s holistic approach to transforming lives is delivered through an integrated set of 160 programs providing supports to low income individuals and families across six key domains: economic development, education & youth development, family support, health, housing and legal services.  CAMBA’s Rockaway Economic Advancement Initiative provides intensive workforce development services and targeted outreach to six NYCHA developments on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

About CEO
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) is the City of New York’s anti-poverty innovation unit.  Working in conjunction with City Agencies and other partners, CEO develops, manages and evaluates program and policy initiatives to help the City improve its systems and identify effective responses to poverty and its related challenges. CEO provides expertise in the areas of evaluation, policy research, and program design and management related to antipoverty programs and policies.

About Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for more than 30 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 63 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $150 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. In addition, Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 275,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a low budget.

To learn more about how you can help, please visit Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC). To donate, visit To become a partner, visit To volunteer, visit To advocate, visit To host a Virtual Food Drive, visit To receive Food Bank For New York City’s CEO E-Newsletter, visit

About Hot Bread Kitchen
Hot Bread Kitchen is a nonprofit social enterprise that increases economic security for low-income, minority and immigrant women and men by creating pathways to professional opportunities in New York City’s $5 billion dollar food manufacturing industry. Through our employer-drive workforce development and business incubation programs, Project Launch and HBK Incubates, we help individuals professionalize their skill and passion in the culinary arts, transcend common barriers to fair wage employment and achieve financial independence and success as bakers and entrepreneurs. To learn more, visit

About NYC Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services helps unlock the economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a fairer economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all of SBS' services, go to

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About Start Small Think Big
Start Small Think Big (Start Small) is a not-for-profit organization located in the heart of the South Bronx, the poorest Congressional district in the country. Our mission is to help low- to moderate-income individuals build and sustain thriving businesses in order to increase their personal financial security and stimulate economic activity in underserved communities in New York City. We believe that entrepreneurship results in increased innovation and sustained economic growth for everyone, in particular, those most traditionally marginalized. By investing in New York City’s most underserved entrepreneurs, we nurture their talent and develop the next wave of leaders and innovators who will not only create jobs and value for our society, but also empower others to create a better future.

About UNHP
The mission of University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) is to create, and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the residents of Northwest Bronx. Created over 30 years ago, much of our work continues to address the aftermath of redlining and disinvestment in the Bronx; issues that brought about our creation as a community lending entity. Today, UNHP still manages community development loan funds, but our work to identify and address distressed multifamily housing, research emerging threats to affordability and bring financial resources to the Northwest Bronx plays a larger role in our community development work. The Northwest Bronx Resource Center collaborates with other successful non-profit groups to bring a wide range of financial services and information to community residents including; foreclosure prevention, financial education, healthcare access, benefits screening, small business help and free tax preparation programs.

About Urban Upbound
Urban Upbound (formerly ERDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding prosperity in public housing neighborhoods so residents and their families have opportunities for economic mobility and self-sufficiency.  Urban Upbound achieves these objectives through five integrated, comprehensive and long-term programs that serve more than 4,500 individuals per year and are anchored by the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union; Employment services, Financial Empowerment services (including one-on-one financial education and counseling, comprehensive public benefits access and tenant advocacy), College Access and Youth Development and the Urban Upbound Merchants Association. For more information, visit