(NEW YORK, NY): between 183rd Street and Walton Avenue, Council Member Pierina Sanchez announced a $7 Million investment in the Morris Heights Community Center to address the community’s requests for increased programming and anti-violence initiatives within the community. With support from Speaker Adrienne Adams, this $7M investment marks the single largest allocation from the Council Member thus far. It directly answers years of community requests for a center providing many services to support young people and curb gun violence.
Council Member Sanchez allocated this amount for a community center to be built a block from where a shooting occurred last November, where a promising young boy fell victim to teen gun violence. This story is not isolated, but connected to compounding community stress rooted in inequities in housing, as 70% of families within the district are rent-burdened, employment, with a district 14 median worker income of $24,525, and lack of opportunities, where only 16 after school slots exist for every 100 children who need one. The investment addresses compounding community stressors that often ripple through the neighborhood and manifest as violence in the community.
“Today, we are taking one step further in addressing the root causes of instability in our community, even as our Cure Violence organizations, N.Y.P.D.P.D.P.D.PD.A.sPD.A.sPD.A.sPD.A.sPD.A.s D.A.s D.A.s D.A.s do their work to address the immediate challenges of gun violence. This center can serve as a beacon of hope for the community, a place for youth to recreate, seniors to relax, and working age folks to exercise after a hard day’s work. Today, we are saying to our community that we know there is work to do, and we are continuing to ensure we take on a ‘yes, and’ approach to doing away with gun violence,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez.
Morris Heights Health Center has been serving our neighborhood for over 40 years. Since 1981, this federally qualified health center has focused on meeting the needs of our high-needs community. To date, they have had over 79,000 primary, dental, and mental health visits per year and serve 55,000 patients, most of whom reside in District 14.
“The Bronx is 62 out of 62 in health outcomes in the entire State of New York. A healthy life begins with addressing the social determinants of health, like elements in your built environment. Healthy food, clean water, and even the air we breathe are all factors that must be addressed so that no child is ever lost on these streets. We need to give people hope and set them on the journey, and that is what weC.E.O.ll C.E.O.in C.E.O.s bC.E.O.dinC.E.O. MC.E.O. MiC.E.O.t, C.E.O. and President of the Morris Heights Health Center.
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The Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence, the local Cure Violence organization that responds to gun violence within the district and seeks to offer young people programming and support to prevent further violence, noted the importance of having programming available when responding to immediate occurrences.
“Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence has been doing this anti-violence work for years, even before we were funded. When the Council Member took office, we sat down to discuss what we would do, and investments like this were one of the main things we agreed upon. This is what it looks like when we talk about reducing gun violence. BRAG will continue to support, walk shoulder to shoulder and respond to immediate needs; B.R.A.Gs is a B.R.A.GimilarB.R.A.GentionB.R.A.Gd in hB.R.A.Gunity,B.R.A.G Caba,B.R.A.Gor of B.R.A.G.
“Everyone deserves adequate healthcare regardless of where they live. I know the struggle of traveling to receive great healthcare. It is amazing to have Morris Heights from the community, serving the community.” Kirstein Monkhouse, Patient Orator
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The team is composed mainly of credible messengers from the impacted neighborhoods who can build a good rapport with youth and other residents due to their prior history of engaging in activities that exposed them to risk for involvement in the justice system.