Today, Lantern Community Services client Matoka Joyner, 60, will become the first person in New York City to move out of supportive housing under the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and Robin Hood Foundation’s Moving On initiative. Matoka will move from Lantern’s supportive housing at Huntersmoon Hall in the Upper West Side to her new home in the Bronx. The program is an important part of addressing the City’s homelessness crisis: with Matoka moving on, someone who is currently homeless in the shelter system will be able to move into her vacated apartment within two weeks.
When Matoka moved into Huntersmoon in 2008, she had been homeless for a year and was struggling with depression. Over the following years, her Lantern social workers helped her stabilize her finances, and address her mental health with an on-site psychiatrist. Having turned her life around, when the opportunity came up in November to apply to move to an independent apartment, she jumped at the chance. With the support of CSH and the Robin Hood Foundation, Lantern’s Moving On staff helped Matoka apply to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for her Housing Choice Voucher, find an apartment, and organize and pay for the logistics of moving.
“I’m excited that I will have my own apartment and will regain my total independence. But Lantern Huntersmoon has served me very well – they started me on the road to positivity.”
Lantern is working with another 24 clients who want to move into independent housing. While the organization’s tenants have the security of being able to stay permanently, not everyone wants to live in supportive housing forever. Moving On means Lantern can help people who want to move into independent housing, and who are stable enough to manage the transition without risking homelessness again. By supporting people who want to move on to do so, Lantern is creating new supportive housing places for people who are currently homeless and relying on the City’s overcrowded shelter system.
Leslie Abbey, Lantern’s Chief Program Officer, said:
“Moving On has provided a wonderful opportunity for our clients who want to take the next step into independent living, but would otherwise simply not have the financial resources to do so. We’re so pleased for Matoka, and we’re also pleased that we’ll now be able to offer the same support she’s received over the past few years to someone who is currently homeless.”