Near Westside Healthy Neighborhoods Fund, Phase 3
Building Healthy Communities
September 18, 2020
Through its Building Healthy Communities priority area, NYHealth has supported six communities across the State in implementing neighborhood-level approaches to increase access to healthy, affordable food and to improve the built environment to make physical activity easier.
In each neighborhood, community convener organizations have spearheaded and acted as the main coordinators for the work, assembling and mobilizing partner coalitions to achieve shared goals. As a result of these efforts, nearly half a million New Yorkers in these neighborhoods have better opportunities to lead healthier lives. As this initiative enters its final year of programming, it is vital that community convener grantees and their partners are prepared to grow and sustain their work at the end of the grant cycle. In 2020, NYHealth awarded a grant to community convener Center for Court Innovation, through fiscal sponsor Fund for the City of New York, to participate in sustainability activities, as well as to continue creating access to healthy and affordable food and making improvements to the built environment.
Under this grant, the Center worked with community partners to solidify the program models they had created, institutionalized a new way of operating, and implemented targeted sustainability activities in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood. It continued to support programming focused on health and safety, specifically through its Take Back the Streets campaign and Peacemaking Project, where residents identified needs and assets of their neighborhood, made decisions about the allocation of resources, and participated in the planning and implementation of community projects. The Peacemaking Project drew upon best practices in public safety and justice system reform to support projects related to strengthening relationships and reducing conflict in the neighborhood. Youth-led community organizing efforts involved teenagers in the planning and implementation of solutions to challenging issues like teen gun violence and teen drug use and trafficking. The Center also prepared residents and youth for their roles in sharing information about key services related to and the benefits of active living and healthy eating, including making space for historically disenfranchised voices and taking the lead on the planning and implementation of community programming and events.