September 25, 2013 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
For a brief period of time, BMCC student Turner Gray, a business administration major with two children—recently found herself in panic mode. She was facing eviction from an apartment she and her family resided in for many years.
“Plus,” she recalls of her situation last year, “it was finals week, and I had to stay with a relative until my kids, mother, and I could get back into our apartment.”
Due to a miscommunication with city and state agencies, Gray—who someday hopes to work in media relations for a beauty company—had her front door locked shut, with no warning.
Unsure of what happened and how she could get back into her home, Gray spotted a flyer for Single Stop, a national organization that provides free referrals to services that can help address the needs of BMCC students so they can remain in school and succeed academically.
Spreading the word
Gray explained her situation to Deborah Harte, Coordinator for Single Stop at BMCC. Harte advised Gray to meet with BMCC’s Scholarship Coordinator Sussie Gyamfi, who found out she was eligible for a loan, which could help her pay the overdue rent, and get back into her home.
Gray made it back into her apartment after just a few days, and the miscommunication with the city and state regarding her rent was cleared up.
However, the emergency made Gray realize Single Stop is a valuable resource for BMCC students—and she wanted to help spread the world about everything it offers.
“People need to know about this program,” said Gray, who recently went down to Washington D.C. with Harte to speak with congress members and their assistants about Single Stop. “I wanted to spotlight the program and help spread the word about it, so colleges that don’t have a Single Stop program can consider launching one.”
According to Gray, in Washington D.C., political staffers were interested in hearing about Single Stop, and “some stated they would talk to politicians in their towns about launching Single Stop at local colleges. It was wonderful to have their support and represent BMCC in Washington D.C.”
Staying in school
Says Gray: “I think of Single Stop as a mini crisis center for students. You can find a good support system at Single Stop if you’re in an emergency situation, even if you need a Metrocard. The staffers want to help you stay in school.”
According to Gray, who was interviewed by Businessweek magazine this summer about Single Stop, “the program tries to catch students before an emergency happens. The staffers will ask, ‘What is the immediate emergency and what benefits are eligible for you?’ Single Stop is ahead of the curve and I want students to know you should never be ashamed to ask for help if facing an emergency.”
Harte says this semester, Single Stop will be instituting the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) which “is projected to cover a great number of our students with health care. “
For more information, visit Single Stop.