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Commissioners from the city’s child welfare, homelessness, probation and welfare departments convened in Bedford Stuyvesant Friday to kick off a new project designed to ease delivery of services. One City/One Community is geared toward families who live in Bed-Stuy, are served by three or more city agencies, and whose cases are considered difficult to resolve. “We know that too many families fall through the cracks because of agency policies and practices that work at cross purposes,” explained Dale Joseph, director of the project. “There hasn’t been a systematic way to document what is really happening.” Rather than have a family apply for help at several different agencies, the project will assemble the relevant case workers and address the family’s problems en masse. It worked for Michelle Cintron. The 49-year-old mother of three was struggling to make ends meet, care for her autistic son, and get her landlord to remove toxic lead from their apartment. After two case conferences with representatives from city departments, things finally started to improve. The Human Resources Administration gave her a subsidy to cover rent arrears; the Department of Housing Preservation and Development got her landlord to put up new drywall to cover the peeling lead paint. “Everything is coming to a satisfactory conclusion,” she said. “If this process had been in place a year ago, I would not have been pulling out my hair.” The city hopes the three-year pilot project will serve approximately 200 individuals or families per year and eventually spread to other neighborhoods. (C. Feldman)

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