Data Compiled by Red Hook Initiative Shows Rampant Mold Problem in Brooklyn’s Largest Public Housing Development, Linked to Lasting Health Problems for Residents

moldreportimageforsmAs the 4 year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, we are shifting our focus to a long standing issue highlighted by the storm, the impact of mold on public housing residents in Red Hook. While Sandy brought to light mold problems in deteriorating NYCHA buildings, exposure to mold and its harmful effect on health have plagued residents in Red Hook Houses for years. We are calling for immediate and long term solutions.

With the support of resident led research and conversations with nearly 150 community members attending input sessions, we’ve released a report today entitled: The Impact of Mold on Red Hook NYCHA Tenants: A Health Crisis in Public Housing. Read our Press Release here.

“PEOPLE HERE KNOW I CAN MAKE IT FAR”

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Rashid is 1 of 61 College Scholars receiving year round support.

Five summers ago, Rashid signed up for Red Hook Initiative’s (RHI) Middle School program. Since that summer, when Rashid was 12, he has participated in RHI’s programs year round. Like hundreds of youth from Red Hook working toward a high school diploma, Rashid has taken home a bi-weekly paycheck from RHI for the past four years as a Youth Leader. Rashid utilized mediation skills as a Peer Counselor, provided nourishing food for his peers as a Teen Chef, and used his writing skills to highlight issues of importance for Red Hook youth through a publication, “Zine.”

Graduating high school was not always a guarantee for Rashid, who relied on RHI for academic and social support every day after school. This summer, Rashid worked with RHI staff as a Program Assistant, to keep high school youth on track towards their academic and personal goals. 120 high school and young adult participants found employment through RHI this summer, and Rashid helped make this possible. Next week, he will head off to SUNY Plattsburgh, beginning his freshman year as a first-generation college student. Rashid says, “RHI opened so many doors for me.”

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MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH WIN CITY-WIDE COMPETITION

Last weekend, Red Hook Initiative’s (RHI) Middle School Program took home First Place in the Youth Council category of the Game Changers Youth Leadership Project, a contest of the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development/ SONYC. Their short film submission, Watchers of Red Hook, focuses on ways to “bridge the gap between Red Hook youth and community police.” Directed, filmed and edited by RHI middle school participants, the video represents just the beginning of a youth-led effort to improve communication and develop peaceful interactions with local NYPD.

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The Watchers of Red Hook stood out among hundreds of submissions from the five boroughs and made it to the final round with fourteen other community-based organizations. By empowering RHI youth from an early age with the knowledge that community change is possible, middle school participants were able to engage with local police in an open dialog about improving relations with Red Hook residents. “This matters to me,” said a sixth-grader, referring to community relations with law enforcement. This message resonated with viewers and competition judges.

The Watchers of Red Hook embodies the first of many opportunities for RHI youth to take ownership of their own future and of Red Hook’s. On July 30, RHI participants will host a community-wide basketball game where youth and local police play on mixed teams. Come cheer for RHI youth!

“I don’t want my older brother to get hurt.” – RHI Middle School participant on why she believes the Watchers of Red Hook is important.