In Brownsville, Brooklyn and Northeast Hartford, Connecticut, healthy food options are difficult to come by. Fast food businesses and bodegas with low or no quality produce characterize the landscape. All the while, full service supermarkets are outside of realistic walking or driving distance, making procuring healthy ingredients and preparing wholesome meals a geographic, logistical, and monetary conundrum.
James, a U.S. Army veteran, first became homeless when he was 9 years old. In 1986, after being discharged from the Army, he immediately fell into homelessness again and has constantly grappled with it in the 29 years since, most recently in the Zero: 2016 community of Jacksonville, Florida. Adding to his struggles, James faced substance abuse issues while homeless and copes with mental illness and PTSD.
The following post, written by Community Solutions President Rosanne Haggerty, first appeared on the website of the Furman Center at New York University.
People or place? Which is the source of persistent poverty and therefore where and how do we intervene?
We’ve all been there -- stuck in a seemingly endless project, out of ideas, unsure of next steps or uncertain about how to measure progress after finally settling on a path forward. It’s a physically and mentally draining feeling, with which even the most serious problem solvers contend.
This week Capital Workforce Partners Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program participants and a team of 60 Aetna volunteers working with Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity joined Community Solutions in the physical reactivation and beautification of three vacant lots in Northeast Hartford. The groups helped clean up and sow wildflower seeds across sites located along Main Street, Garden Street, and Barbour Street.
Brownsville native Avilda Whittmore’s Honeybee Face & Body Art kiosk is one of the biggest crowd pleasers at MGB POPS, an open air marketplace that Community Solutions helped to establish in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The marketplace debuted last winter in response to residents’ requests for high-quality community spaces and a diversity of retail options in this historically low-amenity neighborhood.
“Two heads are better than one,” goes the old adage.
At Community Solutions, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about collaboration. How can we bring disparate parties together and establish opportunities to ideate and take action around the most pressing challenges facing communities across the country and around the world? Again and again, we’ve seen that ideas become more powerful when they’re mixed with, pushed by, and built upon the ideas of others.
Community Solutions President Rosanne Haggerty was the keynote speaker at this week's annual gathering of the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers. The event is the largest gathering of its kind, with more than 1,000 people from the affordable housing and community development fields in attendance. Below are Rosanne's remarks as prepared for delivery.
Thank you very much. It’s an honor to be here with all of you.
We’ve all heard the ubiquitous Fish Proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The message, of course, is that it’s more useful in the long term to teach someone how to do something for themselves then to do it for them.
While Hartford, CT is known for its economic wealth and rich history, it’s also plagued by stark socio-economic divisions that play out across the city’s 16 neighborhoods. With the most diminished life expectancy in the state of Connecticut, Hartford’s northeast neighborhood stands as an important example of what can be lost when a community lacks clear lines of access to things such as quality healthcare, transportation, fresh foods, and safe, quality communal spaces - resources that neighborhoods just a few miles away readily enjoy.