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CAMBA Connection September 2012

Brooklyn Development to Run on State's Largest Residential Solar Power System

CAMBA Connection, September 2012


One of CAMBA Housing Ventures' upcoming developments is running on sunlight. A 214,000 watt solar electric photovoltaic system is now operational atop the Gateway Elton Phase 1, a 197-unit affordable housing development under construction in the Spring Creek section of Brooklyn. 

The housing development, a joint project of CAMBA Housing Ventures, The Hudson Companies, Inc. and The Related Companies, now boasts the largest residential solar power system in New York State.

According to solar system designer Bright Power, the installation will offset almost 300,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent of over 6,400 - or almost 8 acres - of mature trees. Gateway Elton Phase I is also on track to be certified as a LEED Platinum development.

"The heart of this project is 'renewal,' said Joanne Oplustil Executive Director of CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures. "These affordable homes will bring transformational renewal to both the Spring Creek community and to the people who will live here."

Construction of the Gateway Elton is expected to create 950 jobs. The development is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.


CAMBA Legal Services to Young Immigrants: We Can Help You Stay Here

CAMBA Connection, September 2012


CAMBA's legal team stood before a roomful of young immigrants last month to explain the ins and outs of a new Federal program that could let them stay in the U.S. and find work.

The gathering was an info session for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a new policy announced by President Obama this June that allows undocumented immigrants under 31 years old who meet certain residency and education requirements to stay in the U.S. for two years and legally apply for work.

DACA went into effect in mid-August and, while it doesn't confer any lasting residency status, it provides a temporary protection of sorts.

"ICE is saying that they're not going to deport you for two years," said Nick Klein, an immigration attorney with CAMBA Legal Services who helped lead the info session. "And they'll let you get work certification in the meantime."

Minerva, an 18-year-old from Mexico who came to the session, just started college and wants to be able to support herself. "I've been struggling a lot," she admitted. "If I don't qualify for this... I guess I'll just keep going on."

More than 40 people showed up for the late-August session and were met by staff on-hand to screen for eligibility. Since then, CAMBA immigration attorneys have met with 10 clients weekly to help prepare and submit applications. 

Says Eleanor Lam, one of the attorneys meeting with DACA applicants: "We'll help people as long as the need is there."


CAMBA Wins Technology Grant to Bring Patients Connected Care

CAMBA Connection, September 2012

CAMBA was awarded a highly competitive Federal grant this month to help connect the chronically-ill with a communicating network of care providers.

The Health Information Technology Grant will bolster CAMBA's ongoing work with the Health Home Program, a NY State program that uses technology to help Medicaid patients with multiple chronic illnesses improve access to care.

"CAMBA staff have been working for years now to develop a centralized client data management system," said Kevin Muir, CAMBA Director of Health Homes. "Our many government funding sources require staff to use separate data systems, often involving paper charts. The result can be a confusing and complicated mix that is difficult to manage."

The new grant will help CAMBA connect large networks of healthcare providers to access information about the patients that they have in common. 

"Managing information is big business in this technological age we live in," said Muir. "And the more efficiently it can be done, the more clients CAMBA can reach with even higher quality services."


Employee Profile: Tressie Meredith

Shift Supervisor/ADL Coordinator, Broadway House Women's Shelter
CAMBA Connection, September 2012


What’s your current position and program and how long have you worked at CAMBA?
I've been a Shift Supervisor/ADL Coordinator at BHWS since November 2009. I started working for CAMBA on April 22,1996, in security at PSWS. Then in 1998, I was promoted to Lead Guard; in 2002, I was promoted to Shift Supervisor.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in NYC?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
Helping others in-need... and staying busy. There's never a dull moment, and that's how I like to work.

What's a memorable work-related experience you’ve had?
Years ago, one of the residents at PSWS lost a tooth (it was accidentally knocked out). I obtained the tooth, placed it in a small milk carton and give it to the EMT with her name on it. When the resident returned, she was so thankful to me---the doctor was able to save the tooth. I had just watched an episode on the Discovery Channel that week where a tooth was saved like this... and it worked!

How has your work changed the rest of your life?
Working with homeless has changed my life. Before I got into the field, I did not know anything about homeless and how I could affect people's lives. Now I know so much more, but I still live by what my mother always told me: "Treat people the way you want to be treated: with respect."

What other profession have you always wanted to try?
Childcare provider and caterer.

What is your favorite spot or thing to do in New York City?
My favorite spot is BBQ's. I love those Chicken Wings.

If an actor/actress were to play you in a movie, who would it be and why?
It would be Dana Elaine Owens, aka Queen Latifah. I've been a big fan of her for years, since she started as a rapper. And a lot of people tell me that we look alike.

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