Organization Name: RiseBoro Community Partnership (Formerly: Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. INC.)
Project Title: Hope Gardens Community Engagement
Project Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn/NYCHA’s: Hope Gardens Campus
RiseBoro Community Partnership (RB) has long realized the importance of engaging Public Housing residents in community planning. In response, we have coordinated & hosted NYCHA resident meetings at our multi-service centers. Through these forums we developed & maintained long standing relationships with tenants, tenant leaders & emerging community leaders.
In the face of citywide policy changes affecting NYCHA residents (NEXGEN, RAD, Infill, community based rezonings) RB secured funding from ANHD/Morgan Stanley to hire a Community Development Fellow, ensuring Bushwick’s NYCHA residents had access to information & technical support enabling them to understand & engage with these major changes.
Through RB’s approach to outreach & engagement we partner with residents & community stakeholders to ensure their voices are lifted, experiences are centered in discourse & have access to tools & support needed for leadership development. RB’s Engagement tactics foster a stronger community & result in development projects celebrated as Community Assets.
Through RB’s approach to outreach & engagement we partner with residents & community stakeholders to ensure their voices are lifted, experiences are centered in discourse & accessible tools & support needed for leadership development. RB’s Engagement tactics foster a stronger community & result in development projects celebrated as Community Assets.
RiseBoro approached this Public Housing community engagement process utilizing PAR (Participatory Action Research) best practices, ethics & tactics to ensure the engagement process was informed by the needs & goals of the residents themselves. We coordinated information sessions, one-on-one meetings, tabling at high traffic locations & transported residents to boro-wide NYCHA meetings. This PAR approach included a participatory survey process that reached hundreds of local NYCHA households & is proudly one of the most comprehensive NYCHA Tenant Engagement initiatives in the city. Key findings offered insightful information in areas such as preferences regarding new development, open space uses, desired community services & invaluable demographic information. RB created a bi-lingual (Spanish/English) website that we regularly updated with information from NYCHA, City agencies & a network of local partners & service providers.
RB reached nearly 300 Hope Gardens households through this initiative. Following PAR tactics, the survey intake itself served as an opportunity to engage residents in conversations about neighborhood development, needs, goals & leadership. Survey results were shared with NYCHA residents in order to support self-advocacy & empower them with information. Results were also shared broadly with NYCHA staff, elected officials & the Bushwick Community Plan, to facilitate centering residents in these initiatives & conversations.
NYCHA‘s announcement to convert portions of the Hope Gardens portfolio, utilizing RAD, was initially met with resident confusion & distrust. RB supplemented NYCHA’s engagement process with informational sessions, flyering, tabling & transportation to boro-wide meetings. Recently, residents who were not initially selected for RAD conversion, advocated to & with elected officials to ensure NYCHA apply to convert all of Hope Gardens under RAD. With RB, a trusted CBO offering culturally competent & transparent engagement, residents are actively working with NYCHA & other local stakeholders, to bring RAD to a prepared & informed community.
For forty one years, RiseBoro Community Partnership has served the needs of New York City’s low-income communities. We do so by providing & preserving affordable housing, & empowering our residents with an infrastructure of vital social programs. We believe that combining housing with community engagement, healthcare & supportive services best bolsters neighborhoods that have suffered from years of disinvestment & neglect. RBV has grown from a small community based agency serving local senior citizens to one of the largest non-profits in Brooklyn, with a housing department of over 150 employees & an agency staff of nearly 2,000. We now operate 127 buildings & serve nearly 4,000 tenants, & we continue to expand across the 5 boroughs. RiseBoro collaborates with community leaders, government agencies, private investors, & local businesses to finance & design our projects with attention to local conditions & an emphasis on local need & vision, sustainability &, of course, affordability.