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BUILDing Towards System and Policy Changes That Promote Healthy Housing

Our last blog focused on the beginnings of the “on the ground” community advocacy around healthy housing in New Brunswick. This is part of the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative’s effort to develop an organized community structure for continued outreach and to mobilize advocacy efforts, which includes the creation of a New Brunswick Tenant Association. This effort is part of an overall strategy aimed at creating policy and system changes that promote healthy housing in New Brunswick. The focus of this blog will be on the two other aspects of the Collaborative’s work – enhancing local public policy and enforcement regarding housing and providing institutional support.

Our efforts around enhancing local public policy and enforcement regarding housing will look to lead policy efforts that affect changes to the local housing ecosystem, including zoning and housing ordinances for the City. This will consist of an analysis of current municipal housing and zoning ordinances while working simultaneously to identify best policies from similar cities as a means to provide policy recommendations. These efforts will look to both strengthen New Brunswick ordinances, policies and practices, as well as, improve transparency and communication between the rent control office, housing inspectors and community residents.

We recognize that policy changes take time and that there’s a current need for institutional supports for families that address housing-related challenges, including: medical help, case management, and legal aid. As such, our Collaborative will continue to provide case management services to New Brunswick residents participating in our program. Through our Community Health Ambassadors and our two hospital partners (RWJBarnabas-Robert Wood University Hospital & St. Peters University Hospital), these services will look to help residents not only mitigate housing issues but also serve as patient navigators to help these residents access medical care as needed. RWJBarnabas-Robert Wood University Hospital has also agreed to provide legal representation on tenant/landlord issues for residents in our program that can’t afford a private attorney, and who also don’t qualify for legal aid programs through the creation of a medical-legal partnership.

This “3-prong” approach towards system and policy changes will look ensure a community-driven effort that in the end creates an overall healthy housing standard in New Brunswick.

About the Grantee

New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT)

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.