Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Brownsville Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

February 9, 2015






Growing evidence shows that our ZIP code has a greater impact on our health than our genetic code. The neighborhoods in which people live—where family members play, study, work, and worship—affect health in multiple and complex ways.

Good health outcomes are more prevalent in neighborhoods where people have easy access to nutritious, affordable food; safe and walkable streets; and active playgrounds and public spaces. Living in neighborhoods without these essentials, residents are more likely to be burdened with high rates of obesity, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses. To tackle some of the underlying problems that have affected the health of communities, NYHealth launched the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative to help New York State communities become healthier and more active places. Through the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund, NYHealth is investing $2 million over two years to support six communities across the State in their efforts to increase access to healthy, affordable food; improve access to safe places where residents can exercise and be active; and connect children and adults to programs that support healthy behaviors. NYHealth awarded Community Solutions a grant to participate in this initiative.

Under this grant, Community Solutions worked in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn to increase access to fresh produce in local bodegas; add 18 miles of new bike lanes; and repurpose 5 vacant or underused spaces for afterschool programming and public arts projects. The funding also hastened efforts to establish a new community center where residents can be connected to services for a range of issues, from job-seeking assistance to finding diabetes prevention classes.

Learn more about Brownsville and efforts to improve the health of residents.

See a full list of the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund grantees.