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March 28, 2017
Year-long study of Brooklyn community shows lack of infrastructure and access to resources but strong community desire for results.
New York, NY — Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) released its new report From Strengths to Solutions: An Asset-Based Approach to Meeting Community Needs in Brownsville.
The report unveils findings from more than a year of data collection and analysis in the Brownsville community, in which CCC drew from hundreds of government data indicators and engaged with dozens of residents, service providers and community partners to identify what drives poor outcomes in the area and the efforts underway to improve them.
Nearly one-third of Brownsville residents are under the age of 18, and the neighborhood is the fourth highest-risk community district in New York City for children. More than half of children in Brownsville live in poverty; more than 11 percent of newborns are low birthweight; just over a third of students graduate high school; and less than 16 percent of students in grades three through eight are proficient in math and English language arts.
“The report points to a lack of accessibility to the basic staples that every family needs: healthy food, transportation, child care, quality education and youth programs,” said Jennifer March, executive director of CCC. “These resources are even more crucial in communities like Brownsville, where so many families struggle to make ends meet. The report is an eye-opener to all of us that we must fight for Brownsville’s children to get the opportunities they deserve.”
Some of the key high-need areas in Brownsville that the report identifies include:
These resources – food retail, child care, youth programs, transportation – are crucial for any New York City community, but are particularly important in high-need areas like Brownsville. Without adequate public transportation or child care, for example, families cannot access or maintain well-paying jobs. That makes it harder to afford healthy food, safe and stable housing, and otherwise escape the cycle of poverty. The same is true for a lack of safe and productive after-school and summer programs for children and young teens. More employment opportunities for older youth might make the community safer, and increased safety could lead to more young people taking advantage of existing parks and youth programs.
“CCC’s asset map provides a unique glimpse at the strengths of the Brownsville community by showcasing the network of individuals and organizations working to see to it that children’s needs are met,” said Elizabeth Olofson, executive director of the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, who provided funding for the project. “We now have a deeper understanding of the services, supports and infrastructure that exist and what is lacking, as well as what programs require additional attention to ensure they are leveraged to their full potential.”
Included in the report are several examples of innovation and investment in Brownsville that could be expanded upon to change the trajectory of children and families in the community. These programs present exciting opportunities for government, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders to support programs, policies and budget initiatives that respond to the needs put forward by Brownsville residents and service providers in this report and achieve greater outcomes for the community as a whole.
About Citizens’ Committee for Children
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York educates and mobilizes New Yorkers to make the city a better place for children. Since 1944, our advocacy has combined public policy research and data analysis with citizen action. We cast light on the issues, educate the public, engage allies, and identify and promote practical solutions to ensure that every New York City child is healthy, housed, educated and safe. For more information on CCC, visit our web site at www.cccnewyork.org. Stay up to date on the latest news and information regarding the well-being of New York City’s children by following us on Facebook and Twitter.