RHI exists in order to confront the systemic inequities that have persisted in our community for decades. Our response ensures that RHI can provide reliable information, care for vulnerable residents, advocate for community needs, and offer support services for youth. City-wide and national statistics confirm that Red Hook’s Black and Latinx low-income community continue to endure disproportionately high exposure risk, hardship, and death from COVID-19. At this time RHI is carrying out focused work with the following priorities:
Engage vulnerable populations
Community Updates: Distribute vital information via The Red Hook Hub
Comprehensive Community Surveys: In the spring of 2020, RHI conducted over 700 surveys. Determined by the responses and needs identified by residents, RHI is:
– Connecting those who are sick or without a doctor to a volunteer telemedicine network
– Distributing hundreds of food boxes weekly. Since March, we have sent 36,041 pounds of produce to Red Hook kitchen tables
– Providing mental health support for adults ages 25+
Advocate for the Red Hook community’s needs
Activate Red Hook Local Leaders: Use survey data to advocate for the pressing needs of residents of the NYCHA Red Hook Houses with officials at City Hall, City Council, NYCHA and NYC DOHMH.
Mobilize the youth voice: Organize youth in response to the elimination of NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program while providing steady income to young people working as Peer Health Educators, Youth Farmers, and Youth Organizers .
Expand digital access: Advocate for increasing Red Hook Houses residents’ digital access through expansion of our Red Hook WIFI after the network surged by 500% in the weeks following NYC’s initial struggle with the pandemic.
Support services for 450 Red Hook youth
Ensure all youth receive an individual check-in from our team at least once every week; run 10+ group spaces per week for youth to be in community.
Assist with urgent unemployment applications, job searches for young adults, and maintain remote work opportunities for our 70 high school students who earn a paycheck from RHI.
Provide virtual counseling, check-ins, and therapeutic group space for youth
Support college students with virtual-learning, ensure youth have technology and connection for online school, offer tutoring, and provide 1:1 support to navigate the college decision process.
Leading a local movement
Featured in The New York Times: The Complicated Calculus of Helping Neighbors During a Pandemic
“Staffers from the initiative have been working through a list of 2,000 phone numbers for residents of the Red Hook Houses, one of the largest public housing projects in the city, to create a map for who might need help.” Read the full article here.
Pix11: Red Hook Farms helping feed families during pandemic
The Red Hook Farm is three acres, tucked in the middle of an industrial corner of red hook on Columbia Street. The farm is run by a non-profit organization called the Red Hook Initiative. Every week, the group is busy putting fresh food in boxes for families in need. Since COVID-19 began to spread, the group went from feeding 100 families a week, to now almost 500 families a week. Saara Nafici is the Director of Red Hook Farms. Nafici says Red Hook is one of the largest “food desert” communities in New York City, with 6,500 families and not a lot of fresh food options nearby. Read the full article here.
Thank You to Our Community Partners
We are working closely with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Dig Inn, NYU Langone Hospital, NYC Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, NYC Greenmarkets, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, NYCHA, Red Hook Mutual Aid, and other local institutions to coordinate the Red Hook community’s response to this public health crisis.
Hear from RHI Peer Health Educators
This youth produced PSA shares accurate information about COVID-19, including the symptoms, how to seek medical attention, and access updates within Red Hook. Our Peer Health Educators work to educate their friends and family about public healthy issues impacting their community through health fairs, digital media, and local outreach. Watch the PSA here.