BUILDing Community Advocacy to Drive Change
The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative has served as the catalyst of community momentum around healthy housing within the Esperanza and Unity Square neighborhoods of New Brunswick. This is in large part due to the efforts of our Community Health Ambassadors (CHAs) who have become a recognized presence on our city streets, known as the “Ladies in the red shirts” that assess homes and help with housing issues. Through the home assessments, follow ups and community outreach activities, the CHAs have become the driving force of residents asserting their rights as tenants. Our previous blog spoke to this personal level of impact with stories of residents stopping their landlords from raising their rent beyond rent control limits and successfully advocating for their landlords to make necessary repairs.
The momentum has recently seen the beginnings of advocacy on a community-level. The CHAs and a group of residents attended this month’s Rent Control Board meeting where they requested the Board support their request that the city make rental unit information (i.e. current level of rent, last inspection date, number of complaints) available on the city’s website. Our CHA, Celmira, provided testimony to the Board informing them of her experiences working on healthy housing and why this information was important that this information be readily accessible to residents.
The CHAs and a group of Esperanza neighborhood residents took this request a step further by personally asking the Mayor of New Brunswick to make this information available on the city website during a recent town-hall meeting. Our CHA, Milagros, served as the spokesperson for the group. The Mayor not only agreed to this request, but he also pledged to work with the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative to ensure it gets done.
This fledgling community advocacy effort has already drove a system change within the city! This is the first of many that the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative will look to support as both community momentum and advocacy around healthy housing continues to develop.
About the Grantee
New Brunswick Tomorrow's mission is to improve the quality of life for all New Brunswick residents; driving ideas, partnerships and initiatives that reinvigorate lives and move people forward. Within Community Health, a major focus area, we look to improve health outcomes by promoting health active lifestyles, preventing diseases, and increasing access to health services.