Improve Your Finances and Find Affordable Housing with Pedro Hernandez

by Stephanie Kalele, Donor Relations Manager

Despite lawmakers’ effort to halt evictions, many New Yorkers fear the back rent that they have to pay once the moratorium ends on May 1. Families are already overwhelmed from taking care of their suddenly homeschooled children and searching for jobs to put food on the table, without having to also think about where they can afford to live next. Pedro Hernandez, Urban Upbound’s financial and HUD-certified housing counselor, helps our clients by providing guidance and resources to improve both their financial and housing situation.

Pedro started working at Urban Upbound in 2018, when he decided to change his focus from small business financing to personal financial counseling. “Marginalized individuals have to pay more for being poor in this city — I feel morally and ethically obligated to help them sustain themselves at different levels of needs,” said Pedro. Many low-income families have to spend 50–60% of their income to pay rent. By assisting clients in budgeting and finding housing that they can afford, he hopes to change their outlook on money management.

Every month, Pedro organizes a virtual affordable housing workshop, in partnership with NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The most recent workshops cover the NYC Affordable Housing Connect’s new system and the housing lottery process, as well as fair housing rights. Winners of the NYC housing lottery pay no more than 30–40% of their gross income in rent. Unlike NYCHA or Section 8, rent is a fixed amount and doesn’t increase when the tenant’s income does. This is an opportunity for tenants to spend money on other important expenses or save for emergencies.

The next virtual workshop will be held on Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 6 PM. After the event, participants can contact Pedro to schedule a one-on-one financial counseling appointment. Those who are interested can go to this link to register for the event. You can help us expand our reach and offer this service to more low-income New Yorkers by donating here.