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New Report: Community Driven Solutions to Improve Well-Being in Northern Manhattan

New Report: Community Driven Solutions to Improve Well-Being in Northern Manhattan

Today we are releasing our new report, Celebrating Strengths, Addressing Needs: Community Driven Solutions to Improve Well-Being in Northern Manhattan.”

The report is the result of a year-long assessment of child and family needs in Washington Heights, Central Harlem and West Harlem, gathered through analysis of government data and new data collected through focus groups and interviews with services providers, parents and youth.

While northern Manhattan has experienced progress in recent years – with greater than citywide decreases in the rate of uninsured children and teen birth rates, and increases in average household incomes – the report underscores how these gains have not been experienced equally among residents, and how worrisome outcomes persist related to poverty, housing stability and education, particularly for black and Latino families.

Through our participatory research, we’ve engaged community members in identifying the key challenges they face and identified a set of concrete opportunities to improve mobility and well-being.

Among the community-informed findings and recommendations in the report:

  • Caregivers and youth seek opportunities to be economically secure and upwardly mobile. Service providers and residents recommended creating greater access to financial literacy, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship resources for all households. Residents also expressed the need for on-site child care services for caregivers enrolled in adult education, literacy or ESL courses.
  • Residents need greater protections in maintaining stable housing. Service providers and residents suggested expanding existing efforts by the city to maintain affordable housing units and provide free legal counsel to residents facing eviction and harassment from landlords.
  • Youth and caregivers share a desire for more equitable distribution of resources in schools and more opportunities for parental involvement in their children’s education. Residents said they wanted more free or low-cost homework help programs, especially to support families with limited English proficiency. They also called for the creation of more mixed-use spaces in the community for play and homework help that could alleviate stressors related to household overcrowding.
  • Community members express a need to eliminate access barriers to ensure greater ease in obtaining needed and desired programs and services. Residents desired greater access to information about programs including an all-in-one resource center that could help families meet a variety of needs and interests, including arts programs and recreational activities.

We hope that this report informs neighborhood-based and citywide policy priorities and advocacy to ensure New York City becomes a fairer and more equitable city for all children and families.

You can download the report here.

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