RBFCU Employees Volunteer to Provide Emergency Housing Assistance
LIVE OAK, Texas (July 7, 2020) — While the news of programs for emergency housing assistance has been widely reported during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not been well known that a group of volunteers has assisted municipal governments in getting the money to people who desperately need it. That includes a group of employees at RBFCU who recently assisted by completing applications on behalf of citizens facing a disruption in their ability to make housing payments.
The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program was part of a $25 million undertaking offered by the City of San Antonio to residents who were facing foreclosure, eviction or shutting off of utilities.
“I appreciated the fact that the City of San Antonio had taken such a proactive stance on assisting the residents of the city, and organized such a massive program in such a short time,” RBFCU Commercial Underwriter Reed Stone said. “I appreciated the fact that RBFCU in general, and its senior management specifically, also took such a proactive response in assisting the city and its residents, including our members, with the emergency housing assistance program.”
Along with Reed Stone, others at RBFCU who volunteered included Yulanda Robinson from Consumer Lending and Business Development’s Jamie Blankinship, Anna Gorjup, Elizabeth Joost and Robert Rodriguez Jr. and Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Mark Sekula.
“It’s good to see and hear the perspectives from those at RBFCU who participated,” Mark Sekula said. “I know they have all been humbled by this process and how they are helping people in need and are still dedicated to assisting the city.”
Each of them reviewed several cases and appeals for assistance daily. They completed applicant files by calling and emailing individuals. The information was passed on to a processor to make a decision on the case. This sometimes took the volunteers a few days to collect all of the necessary information needed.
They prepared by participating in a Zoom-enabled training session. Then they quickly got to the task of contacting applicants.
It provided unforgettable insight into the economic hardships families are experiencing because of the loss of jobs and income resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some of their impressions:
Yulanda Robinson — “While I am no stranger to having to make tough financial decisions for my family, I cannot imagine having to do it under these conditions where my health and the health of family members and my community is also at stake. For them to be able to maintain composure, stay focused and be strong for their families while also reaching out for help is something that we as volunteers should not overlook.”
Jamie Blankinship — “Working hand in hand with these applicants, getting to know them and their families and doing all I can to make sure these people can continue to survive another day financially is overwhelming. You feel a certain responsibility to try and work on as many cases as possible because, often times, these applicants have already received a notice to vacate. I feel a huge sense of responsibility to push their case forward that hopefully ends with an approval for them. Whenever an applicant learns that I work for RBFCU and I am just a part of a team helping out, they are over-the-moon grateful and always so surprised that we would step up just to assist with the case load.”
Anna Gorjup — “I don’t recall anyone who was mad, angry or upset. They had every reason to be. Everyone had different situations and circumstances, but families and relatives came together to help each other out. Just about every applicant submitted a handwritten letter of personal hardship that explained how they were affected by COVID. They had reduced work hours, were put on furlough, or eventually just laid off. Many of them took in family members even though they themselves were living on a fixed income.”
Elizabeth Joost — “When we would call, you could often hear the desperation in their voices and the appreciation that somebody would help them in their time of need. So many families were affected because schools and daycares were closed. If both parents worked outside of the home somebody had to be there to care for the children. This caused some to lose their jobs and some to be furloughed. So many ripple effects. Many were furloughed because they were simply not needed for a time. An example of this was servers at restaurants or medical personnel that assisted with elective surgery. No matter the situation, they all said thank you.”
About Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
Established in 1952, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial cooperative whose mission is to improve members’ economic well-being and quality of life. With assets exceeding $12 billion, RBFCU serves more than 900,000 members at 60 branch locations throughout Texas.
Salvador Guerrero, Assistant Vice President-Communications