EAST HARLEM, NY - The Taino Towers EnVision Center located in the joint-epicenter of the pandemic teamed up with a multitude of community partners to tackle COVID-19. The nation’s first bilingual EnVision Center and its lead partners, Operation Equivalency, Arco Management, Union Settlement’s Business Development Center, and the Boriken Health Center worked with service providers to provide residents of Taino Towers and the East Harlem community an array of essential services during the pandemic.
“The Taino Towers EnVision Center is providing East Harlem families with much needed support and a peace of mind through essential services such as medicine and food delivery during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “What Taino Towers is doing for its community and the City of New York is nothing short of remarkable. The EnVision Center and its partners are stepping up to help their neighbors. The Center will continue to focus on providing local residents with a pathway to self-sufficiency and economic empowerment.”
Taino Towers’ lead EnVision Center partners, Operation Equivalency and Arco Management, collaborated with La Fonda Boricua, World Central Kitchen, and Chefs For America to provide over 2000 meals a day to East Harlem residents. This would not have been possible without the leadership of Maria Cruz, Director of Arco Management, Francisco “Tony” Lantigua, Chair of Operation Equivalency, and the Honorable Edward Gibbs, East Harlem District Leader.
East Harlem residents are not the only ones receiving meals. Union Settlement’s Business Development Center, another EnVision Center partner, teamed up with NYC Health and Metropolitan Hospital to provide meals to Metropolitan Hospital’s healthcare workers assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of twenty local restaurants and delis are participating by providing over 180 lunches and 180 dinners to front-line healthcare workers seven days per week.
Boriken Health Center is another lead EnVision Center partner that stepped up to the plate by providing patient care in innovative ways to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic. The Boriken Pharmacy is offering free delivery throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Boriken is providing care through video (telemedicine) and telephone visits. The Center is seeing about 50 percent of its patients through telemedicine and telephone visits (about 20+ visits a week) and the other 50 percent through clinic visits.
The team of medical professionals that the community has always relied on are still available. Physicians, physician assistants, social workers, registered nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other medical professionals are all offering telemedicine services. In emergencies, in-person care is still available.
The Taino Towers EnVision Center has been instrumental in aiding the East Harlem community during these challenging times, but it has been there to assist the community since its inception. The brainchild of Secretary Carson, EnVision Centers offer families support and federal resources to help them achieve self-sufficiency. EnVision Centers are premised on the fact that financial support alone is insufficient to solve poverty. Focused collective efforts across various organizations are needed to realize a more holistic path to foster lasting self-sufficiency.
Located on or near public housing developments, EnVision Centers provide communities with a centralized hub to access support under the following four pillars: Economic Empowerment, Educational Advancement, Health and Wellness, and Character and Leadership. The Taino Towers EnVision Center hosted Secretary Carson for its grand opening on January 15, 2020.
To learn more about HUD Secretary Carson’s EnVision Centers, please visit HUD.gov/EnVision Centers. To learn more about our communities helping each other in this time of need, please visit Twitter and look for the hashtags: #NeighborsHelpingNeighbors #InThisTogether.