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Grantee Blog 2020

Embajadoras

Despite a rocky beginning, two Healthy Housing Ambassadors, also called “Embajadoras” were hired to start a door-to-door healthy housing campaign in the Gateway neighborhood. Both Embajadoras are bilingual residents of Perth Amboy who care deeply about the wellbeing of our community. They have chosen to use the title “Embajadoras”, Spanish for “Ambassadors” to better relate to the population they are educating.

The team met through Zoom to discuss a recent Virtual Community Meeting regarding affordable housing. The meeting brought to light just how necessary additional education was needed, especially to those who are hard-to-reach, including Spanish speakers with limited access to technology. The team is grateful for the opportunity from Healthy Communities Network to conduct door-to-door education in an area that is known to be an area of need: the Gateway neighborhood.

To learn more about the Gateway neighborhood, the Embajadoras met over Zoom to speak with a representative from the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Team for Neighborhood Enterprise and Revitalization (PARTNER) who has been working in this neighborhood for over five years. The team learned that the Gateway area is home to about 6000 Perth Amboy residents. Of those 6000 residents, about 90% of these residents consider themselves Hispanic, and of those residents a majority say their primary language spoken in Spanish. The team also learned that in this neighborhood, 80% of residents are renters about 20% are homeowners. Unfortunately, whether they were paying rent or mortgage, 60% of Gateway residents are cost burdened, meaning they spend over 30% of their income on housing.

The statistics that PARTNER has found over the past five years paints a picture of an area of demonstrated need. Residents in the Gateway neighborhood of Perth Amboy lack the resources and education necessary to stand up for themselves and their community regarding unsafe and substandard housing. The Healthy Housing Embajadoras are currently educating themselves about safe and healthy housing so they can best educate their neighbors on the topic. The outreach workers thankfully have the city by their side, who have given them 200 radon test kits to distribute along with valuable information about the subject.

The YMCA Embajadoras are excited to launch a campaign centered around equity and justice for our residents.

About the Grantee

Raritan Bay Area YMCA

The YMCA is dedicated to building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities through programs that develop the values of caring, honesty, faith, respect, and responsibility. The YMCA serves all people regardless of age, religion, sex, or financial means and is committed to developing a healthy mind, body and spirit.