New councilmember looks to revamp approach to providing services

New councilmember looks to revamp approach to providing services

The new broom in the 45th Councilmanic District is starting out his tenure by sweeping clean.

Freshman City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who took over on January 1st from former City Councilmember Kendall Stewart — whom he defeated in both the Democratic primary and the general election — has ambitious plans for coordinating the efforts of service providers in the district to effect real change.

To that end, Williams told members of the Friends United Block Association (FUBA), gathered at Temple Shaare Emeth, 6012 Farragut Road, for their January meeting, that he would be bringing together all the players in the district — which includes portions of Flatbush, Canarsie and Midwood– within “The first 100 days, so we can all get in one room and talk about which way we want the 45th district to go.

“People are doing a lot of wonderful things, but they’re not often talking to each other,” Williams contended. “Sometimes, they are duplicating services. They’re not seeing where they can complement what one service is doing. We have to do that.”

In that respect, he added, what he can do is act as a lynchpin, “Speaking to everybody, to make sure everyone is going in the same direction,” so that the effect of their efforts is cumulative.

A single juvenile justice program that serves 100 teens may do good work, but it doesn’t by itself bring down crime in the district, Williams pointed out.

“One program can’t lower crime through the entire community,” he stressed. “It takes a lot of different methods to do that,” combining education with after-school activities with crime prevention efforts.

“It sounds very simple but a lot of people are not doing it,” Williams went on.

“Actually, a lot of people are providing services, but it seems like they are spinning their wheels because the community is not being affected,” he noted, telling the group that community based organizations that come to him for funding will have to participate in planning sessions that can help lead to “a community wide impact.

“I think when we have that discussion, we will all do our parts,” Williams added.