Homeless prevention program expands from BX

The success of a pilot program that's helping Bronx families stay off the streets has prompted an expansion to Brooklyn.

The Department of Homeless Services, city Civil Court and United Way launched the court-based housing help program in 2005 in the borough. It's aimed at providing legal aid to prevent eviction and maintaining housing. The program also addresses long-term economic and social challenges.

Officials say so far, the program has helped more than 700 families and has an impressive 98 percent success rate. The results have prompted the DHS to help an additional 1,000 families in the Bronx and now in Brooklyn.

Andre Gist and his wife, Lillian, are both deaf-mutes. The couple has three children and was facing an eviction. Gist said the program changed his life by helping his wife find work and providing assistance.

"I feel the future will be very positive," Gist said through a translator. "The program will help with housing repairs [and with creating] a resume."

The DHS plans to evaluate the program in Brooklyn for a year before considering a citywide expansion.

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