On Wednesday, June 18, AAFE’s Housing & Community Services (HCS) department held its second annual celebration at the Museum of Chinese in America. Around 60 community members and professionals enjoyed an evening filled with great food and networking. Guests also took part in a guided tour of the museum in English and Cantonese, including the new Oil & Water exhibit.
Later in the evening, HCS staff members presented the following with awards in recognition of their dedication to serving the Lower East Side and Chinatown communities:
Lok Yip Cheung, Resident Leader
Shiu Koon Lee, Resident Leader
Furthermore, AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui and Board President Wendy Takahisa recognized AAFE’s NeighborWorks America AmeriCorps VISTA members Wendy Jennings, Karen Lin, and Maple Wu, and Points of Light Financial Opportunity Corps members Dan Ping He and Nathalie Carril-King. Wendy, Karen, and Maple have been great resources to AAFE during their year of service, developing AAFE’s organizational, administrative, and financial capacity. For their program, Nathalie and Dan Ping have trained volunteer coaches to help community members develop strategies to reduce debt, improve credit, start saving for emergencies, access benefits, and build assets for long-term financial health.
Chris and Wendy also thanked two HCS staff members who will be leaving AAFE later this summer to pursue their graduate degrees. Program Manager Kayan Chiu, who has been with AAFE for six and a half years, will begin law school at the City University of New York in August. After starting at AAFE as an Immigrants & Parks Collaborative Fellow, Kayan was instrumental in the development of HCS by organizing building-wide tenant actions against landlords in housing court and educating tenants on housing rights. Development & Communications Coordinator Douglas Lim will move to Washington, D.C. to attend Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. During his tenure at AAFE, Douglas organized several fundraisers, including AAFE’s Annual Lunar New Year Banquet, and pioneered AAFE’s communication efforts on social media and the internet.
HCS also debuted its 2013 Year in Review which highlights the department’s work over the past year, including statistics on the types of cases with which the department’s housing counselors dealt as well as success stories. In 2013, HCS assisted over 2,900 walk-in clients with services ranging from renewing entitlement benefits to preventing eviction. To view the report, please click here.
“I am very happy to honor and recognize the work of our community partners and staff for all they have done to ensure residents have access to safe, affordable places to live,” said AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui. He added, “This event really represents the spirt of AAFE’s origin, and that even 40 years after our victory at Confucius Plaza, AAFE continues to fight for and protect tenants’ rights.”