Building Healthy Communities NYC
Building Healthy Communities
September 29, 2020
New York City’s Building Healthy Communities Mayoral Initiative was established in 2015 to improve health outcomes in 12 underserved neighborhoods with high numbers of public housing residents across all five boroughs.
Two of those neighborhoods—Brownsville and East Harlem—directly overlap with NYHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund communities. To complement the City’s efforts, NYHealth awarded the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City grants in 2015 and 2018 to engage organizations in activating newly renovated spaces and connect public housing residents in Brownsville and East Harlem to opportunities for improved health and wellness. As NYHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative enters its final year of programming, it is important that these neighborhoods can expand their health improvement initiatives and create long-term sustainability. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the Fund a grant to help organizations and residents focus on capacity building and sustainability so they can continue their work in East Harlem and Brownsville.
Under this grant, the Fund will work with residents and community leaders to ensure they can continue to advocate for food security and sovereignty and activation of public spaces in their neighborhoods. The Fund will help both East Harlem and Brownsville map and assess existing fresh food resources and gaps. New partnerships will be piloted to bolster food justice efforts and help low-income residents and youth build on local agricultural efforts like community gardens. The Fund will also continue to support the expansion of healthy nutrition and meal preparation programs and education for youth. To support community activation of public spaces, mini-grants will be offered to local groups to envision and lead their own project ideas for parks, streets, plazas, and gardens. Finally, the Fund will cultivate and connect community leadership in Brownsville and East Harlem to design, drive, and advocate for projects that address isolation, safety/trust issues, and long-term inequities created by racism and disinvestment in these neighborhoods.