Building a model for the future by reimagining public safety at 17 New York City housing sites across the five boroughs.
Invest in Residents
Neighborhood Safety Initiatives hires, trains, and supports community organizers; recruits and organizes resident leadership teams; designs and implements social programs; manages community action plans; and implements data collection and evaluations. Social programs include youth mentorship, coding courses, music mentorship, adult entrepreneurship, intergenerational green space stewardship, healing and justice events, public education campaigns, summer time basketball series, economic mobility events and more. Neighborhood Safety Initiatives also responds to residents’ immediate needs. The program coordinates collaboration across city agencies and other non-profit partners to answer food needs, connect residents to resources, and host conflict resolution events.
We desperately need a place specifically for the youth. Because they hang out and there is not a place to go and I think they feel like nobody cares about us. So then they start getting into things that they should not get into. A youth center means we’re preparing the youth for whatever they need to be the future leaders. So, we, resident stakeholders said, okay, we’re going to focus on them. So we asked them.
— Jolyn, Saint Nicholas resident
Transform Public Spaces
Neighborhood Safety Initiatives works with residents to re-envision public spaces to make them more welcoming and promote people’s wellbeing. In the last two years, as part of the action plans, the program has designed and implemented a series of community gardens and recreational public spaces, wayfinding projects, murals, creative lighting installations, and a pop-up outdoor program with movable kiosks.
One of the program’s overarching goals is to bridge the gap between policymakers and community members. Neighborhood Safety Initiatives uses resident teams to identify policy issues and discuss them with representatives of city agencies and other stakeholders. The teams then use a participatory decision-making process to bring even more residents to the table. Additionally, the program co-hosts a yearly policy summit, an interactive day of learning and idea sharing about how to create safety.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Neighborhood Safety Initiatives has invested in resident well being and local leadership networks by conducting a needs assessment, helping residents deliver essential goods to their neighbors, and offering informational seminars.
Neighborhood Safety Initiatives oversees NeighborhoodStat, a team of local residents, community stakeholders, and city agency representatives who work together to identify and solve public safety issues within the following 17 public housing communities: Boulevard Houses, Brownsville Houses, Bushwick Houses, Butler Houses, Castle Hill Houses, Ingersoll Houses, Johnson Houses, Jefferson Houses, Patterson Houses, Polo Grounds Houses, Queensbridge Houses, Red Hook Houses, St. Nicholas Houses, Stapleton Houses, Tompkins Houses, Van Dyke Houses, Wagner Houses.
Neighborhood Safety Initiatives worked with each resident team to complete their action plans and access $10,000-$57,000—a total of $550,000 citywide for resident-driven projects to improve public safety. The program has reached over 60,000 residents of the New York City Housing Authority.
Since 2018, Neighborhood Safety Initiatives has overseen the implementation of NeighborhoodStat, a local problem-solving process funded by the Mayor’s Office. The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) initially identified 15 public housing communities disproportionately impacted by persistent levels of violent crime and disorder for participation in the program. Nstat and Neighborhood Safety Initiatives work together to engage residents in community organizing and local problem-solving efforts and invest in solutions that build capacity and provide access to city resources and opportunities. Recently, two sites have been added to the original 15.