When newly-elected candidate from Queens, New York remarked during a television interview that she could not afford Washington, D.C. rents, the Internet erupted with supporters wanting to donate into a special fund to help her find housing during her term on Capitol Hill.
However, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Nov. 10, urged donors to give instead to the Chhaya Community Development Corporation (Chhaya-CDC), an organization originally established by an Indian-American Seema Agnani, to help South Asian immigrants with housing needs but now works on a broader anti-poverty agenda.
“The response was overwhelming. Within five minutes, the New York Charities donation landing page was down and the organization had thousands of messages of support on social media,” Chhaya said in a press release Nov. 14. Chhaya has its offices in Ocasio-Cortez’ District 14. .
“Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for the offers of help. For all the kind supporters offering to contribute to a GoFundMe: please send your contribution to @ChhayaCDC instead. They are helping NY14 families struggling w housing + could use your help:https://www.nycharities.org/giv” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. –
Her message was retweeted 6, 241 times and acquired 29,200 ‘likes’.
Chhaya CDC retweeted Ocasio-Cortez saying, “Thank you Congresswoman-elect @Ocasio2018 for walking your talk & redirecting resources to those who need housing the most in your district. #NY14 #walkthetalk. Text “Chhaya” to 50155 to donate!
Chhaya CDC has been working in the community for nearly two decades “with the mission to build power, housing stability, and economic well-being of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in New York City,” Chhaya said. This year, the organization hopes to be able to build an office of their own.
The 29-year old Ocasio-Cortez, considered an activist in the Bernie Sanders mold, defeated 10-term Congressmen, Rep. Joseph Crowley, who was a close India-friend, in the primaries in a surprise defeat, catapulting her to the House almost automatically to Congress, this being a heavily Democratic district. She is also the youngest woman elected to Congress.