Three years ago Kurtar Barlas was a very worried man. He had received threatening letters for credit card companies and was struggling to repay high interest rate debts.
A widower, Kurtar had stopped working to nurse his wife as she struggled with lung cancer. Now he was concerned that his social security money would be taken by the credit card companies. He turned to ERDA for help with his financial worries after hearing about the Financial Fitness Program (FFP) from his housing department.
Today, Kurtar refers to ERDA counselor Sara Martin as his ‘guardian angel’ after she helped him solve his problems. She advised Kurtar on his rights and called the credit card companies on his behalf to negotiate a repayment plan he could afford.
ERDA not only helped Kurtar with managing his finances, but he has since received support updating his resume and learning basic computer skills via the Long Island City Workforce1 Career Center, operated by ERDA. He is very grateful for the on-going support - and the Thanksgiving Turkey - he has received from Sara and the other counselors.
“ERDA is a very good organization. They are always happy to help and I recommend them to everyone I know who needs help. They offer low interest rates which are much better than the banks,” says Kurtar, who is originally from Turkey.
Constantina Hernandez desperately needed help.
Already struggling to provide for her family, she had been denied food stamps. A social worker at her daughter Jessica’s school told her about ERDA. The organization quickly stepped in and helped Constantina secure access to the food stamps she so desperately needed to feed her family.
Now Constantina knows she can come to ERDA when she needs help. Originally from Mexico, Constantina doesn’t speak English and ERDA has provided help translating important documents.
From struggling to live day-to-day, Constantina now has a plan for the future; she has opened her first bank account with the credit union and is plan for a better future for her daughter.
On Saturday, May 19th, ERDA College Access Program students joined a volunteer team from Goldman Sachs to learn concrete aspects of improvisation comedy in Astoria Park. Every year, Goldman Sachs sponsors a day long project with our ERDA College Access students. Volunteers participate in cool projects like this one with ERDA youth while mentoring them on college applications and college life in general. Without your support, this would have never been possible. Thank you.
#90Day90K - One of our new initiatives in our Astoria office is the Astoria Gardening Initiative. New options are coming to Astoria. Investing in us will keep this work going on in Astoria and change the lives of residents forever. One seed at a time.