Real estate professional Barry Hers looks back on his decades of support for vital emergency housing programs in New York City.
From the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to HASA, New York’s vulnerable and at-risk populations often rely upon the city’s numerous emergency housing initiatives. A decades-long supporter of these and other vital, much relied upon housing schemes, Barry Hers takes a closer look at both emergency and non-emergency housing and rent assisted accommodation programs available in the Big Apple.
“I’ve always harbored a desire to help those in need, so I’m immensely proud to have been able to lend a much-needed hand to organizations such as HASA and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and their various projects and services during the last 25 years,” reveals Hers, a native New Yorker and highly-regarded property expert.
HASA—originally the HIV/AIDS Services Administration—exists to assist individuals living in New York City with AIDS or HIV-related illnesses, in order that they may live healthier and more independent lives, according to Barry Hers, with services also recently extended to include low-income residents of the city who are HIV positive but asymptomatic. “HASA also offers a number of other services,” he adds, “including assistance in helping to apply for services such as Medicaid, transportation and cash assistance, mental health and substance abuse screening, treatment referrals, and employment and vocational services.”
The organization, first established in 1985, offers both emergency and non-emergency housing to those eligible for support.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, meanwhile, initiated by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani and also favored by his successor, Michael Bloomberg, sees properties such as Hers’ building at 60 Clarkson Avenue become a form of shelter for homeless and less fortunate families and individuals living in New York City.
“I believe I was among the first landlords in New York City to embrace HASA’s housing assistance programs,” reveals Hers. “I’ve been involved with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program since the 90s, too,” he adds, “when, in 1995, I purchased the building at 60 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.”
Hers and his firm then worked tirelessly, and at significant expense, to renovate the Clarkson Avenue property, before dedicating it to the emergency program in direct response to concerns surrounding growing homelessness in New York City.
Initiatives such as HASA and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are largely backed by property investors, landlords, and real estate professionals such as Barry Hers, whose offices are based in Brooklyn, close to a number of properties which the New Yorker has selflessly entered into these and other similar schemes.
“It has given me great pleasure,” Barry Hers adds, wrapping up, “and I’m incredibly proud to have been able to make a difference here in New York City.”