The magnitude of the health and housing challenge in Brooklyn, steepened by COVID, points to the need for additional community ingenuity and pressure, and for uniting in amplified ways behind NYC’s long running health and housing champions. In Central and East Brooklyn, where many disparities are most evident, building code violations are twice the City average, and the neighborhoods have among the highest eviction, overcrowding, and asthma rates in the City. It is not surprising that residents consistently report that housing is their top challenge to health. The stress of fear of displacement due to gentrification is well documented in our PAR studies and more broadly.
Housing, and the built environments in which it is situated, are key determinants of physical and mental health. Housing also presents a range of economic and knowledge-building opportunities: from ownership and employment opportunities repairing HVAC systems, landscaping, building management, and more.
Therefore, the goal of BCC’s housing work is to leverage the confluence of the:
- redirection of healthcare dollars to the social determinants of health
- commitment of the institutions in BCC to the anchor mission approach for building community health and wealth
- alignment and organizing power of our successful alliance of community, institutions, clergy, CBOs, labor, elected officials, government agencies
- NYS investment in SDOH, specifically the Vital Brooklyn housing developments with 3,400 units of new housing
Within each of these areas we seek to be an innovative and constructive force for sustained improvement in the health and economic indicators of neighborhood residents.
Participatory Action Research on Health & Housing in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and East New York (2020)
Between 2016 and 2019 PAR teams of 40 – 50 student researchers surveyed neighborhoods of Central, East, and Southwest Brooklyn to learn what would make a difference in improving health and wellness. Finding affordable, safe and healthy housing in Brooklyn has become a challenge for communities where residents are of low to moderate income and have poorer access to resources.
Sponsors and Research Team Coordinators: Community Care of Brooklyn (CCB) /Maimonides Medical Center (MMC); Community Action and Advocacy Workgroup