Circle of women playing with a happy toddler.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Nicole Cueto (917) 434-5940
Ncueto@dhs.nyc.gov

DHS, CAMBA and The Rogosin Institute Dedicate a New Computer Lab at The Kensington Family Shelter, Helping Homeless Children and Parents Bridge the Digital Divide

Brooklyn, NY, May 18, 2016 – The New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), CAMBA and The Rogosin Institute dedicated a new computer lab at The Kensington Family Shelter in Southeast Brooklyn today, giving homeless children and teens the technological tools to complete homework assignments and access educational videos and information, as well as enable parents to create resumes, conduct online job searches and search for permanent housing options.

The 21 Apple Mac computers and a printer were donated by Rogosin, a non-profit treatment, research, education and prevention institute focusing on kidney disease. Rogosin, with eight integrative care centers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) and Weill Cornell Medicine. Rogosin also donated technical assistance to set up the lab and train CAMBA staff members to manage it.

“The lab will help young people and their families build critical computer skills, compete successfully in our highly technical world and bridge the digital divide that limits the upward mobility of people in low-income communities,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA. “We are grateful to Rogosin for making this generous and life-changing investment in our families,” she added.

“True health has been appropriately defined as a ‘total state of well-being.’ Rogosin is committed to the ‘total’ health of all those whom it serves, “said Dr. Barry Smith, President and CEO of The Rogosin Institute. “Providing the residents of The Kensington Family Shelter with the chance to learn new marketable skills and to thereby create new and better opportunities – and lives for them and their families – is as much a part of healthcare as the medical things we do. We are privileged to be able to do this for these families.”

“This new computer lab will ensure that families in The Kensington Family Shelter have the resources they need to complete homework assignments, conduct job searches and stay connected to a high tech world,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Access to computers and good technical skills are a necessity for both kids and adults to succeed today. Thank you to the Rogosin Institute and CAMBA for your partnership, for bringing this much needed resource to our neighborhood, and working to close the digital divide in Kensington.

“Helping our clients get back on their feet is our number one priority” said Camille Rivera, NYC Department of Homeless Services Deputy Commissioner for Communications and External Affairs. “Through initiatives such as this one, we are able to provide great opportunities for residents to look for potential employment, participate in online activities that are educational and beneficial to their futures, as well as bring them together in a space that provides a sense of community and belonging.”

“Long-term, easy access to computers – and the classes that we currently offer and plan to expand – will help our young people and parents build skills that will give them the ability to compete successfully in today’s work world,” said Denise Lalande-Phipps, Director of The Kensington Family Shelter. “That life-changing impact is a fundamental goal at The Kensington: We want to ensure that that every individual here has the services they need to become self-sufficient and permanently housed.”

Berlyz Rivera, a single mother living with her baby daughter at The Kensington, said having easy access to the computer lab has helped her find a job and enables her to complete her continuing education homework assignments, while her child plays in the adjacent playroom.

Ms. Hall, also a parent at The Kensington, said she was able to land a job as a bank teller, thanks to the ability to conduct online searches and upload applications. Her teenage daughter used the computer lab to work on homework, helping her secure a coveted spot next year in one of the City’s top high schools.

Before the computer lab opened, Ms. Lord, another homeless parent at The Kensington, said she would travel across Brooklyn, to East New York, to use computers at the library. She also found a job, through access to the computer lab.

The Kensington, which opened in late 2015, is home to 64 families, including 72 children. CAMBA’s staff provides case management for each family, helping them cope with any crisis that may arise, including emergency food, clothing, carfare and other needs. Staff members also help families search for permanent, affordable housing, secure benefits and obtain jobs, job training and education.

CAMBA, one of New York City’s largest human services organizations, operates The Kensington, with funding from the New York City Department of Homeless Services.

The Rogosin Institute has a long history of community involvement, including supporting Computer Clubs in Romania and Bulgaria, which provides access and computer skills to about 2,000 youth. The goal of the Computer Clubs is to help youth gain marketable skills, enabling them to compete for information-age jobs.

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