Vote to fund projects in 12 Brooklyn nabes with participatory budgeting

Only 1.14 percent of registered NYC voters turned out early to polls

It’s the people’s money!

Brooklynites from 12 of the borough’s neighborhoods have until Jan. 24 to vote for a project that will be funded in their community to address mental health issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The People’s Money is one of a few Participatory Budgeting processes throughout the year that allow residents to have a say in what receives funding in their community — voting for one of three proposals that were crowdsourced by their neighbors.

The 12 Brooklyn neighborhoods included in this round of participatory budgeting were all selected in 2020 as part of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equality due to the disparate impact the COVID-19 impact had on communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods. 

Residents are eligible if they live, work or go to school within a zip code listed for one of the impacted neighborhoods which includes Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, East New York, Starrett City, Sunset Park, Coney Island, Flatbush, Midwood, Brownsville, East Flatbush, Flatlands and Canarsie. 

Check out Brooklyn Paper’s guide to all the budget proposals within our borough, ordered by how they appear on the city’s website, with each community issued a budget of $40,000 for their project. 

Bedford-Stuyvesant (11205, 11206, 11216, 11221, 11233, 11238)

Do Not Cross the Line

This project would fund a visual public service announcement to address gun violence in Brooklyn created by youth from neighborhoods most impacted by the global issue. 

Build-A-Bench; Paint-A-Bench

To assist with beautification efforts in anticipation of opening streets to commerce and pedestrians, this funding would go towards the building and painting of benches in front of businesses and within Saratoga Park. 

Wall for Seniors

Led by Bedford-Stuyvesant artist Vernando Reuben, 25-30 young adults would help create and paint a mural in the Community Room and Library at Quincy Senior Residences. 

Brownsville (11212, 11233)

Youth Self Care Awareness Month 

A month of in-person mental health activities tailored to youth on the weekends with each day covering a different mental health topic to reach people experiencing different issues. The program would feature different experts in the mental health field and offer incentives and giveaways to encourage participation. 

Next-Gen Brownsville Watch Group

Residents and community members who have experienced or been involved with the criminal justice system will work with minors in an effort to prevent minor incidents from escalating into violence and will promote the opportunities available to the youth. 

Next S.T.E.P.S (Striving Toward Engagement and Peaceful Solutions) Program

The funding would expand a local mentorship program for Brownsville youth aged 16-24 that strives to promote education, employment, health services, family engagement and civic participation.

Bushwick (11206, 11207, 11221, 11237)

Healing through Art/Storytelling 

If chosen, this project would fund a public installation showcasing public figures who have overcame mental illness with the goal of demystifying mental health. Community members will also be invited to share their obstacles with mental health. 

Mental health app/website

This project would fund the creation of a website or free phone application providing information access Bushwick’s mental health resources. The app and website will be designed to be a one-stop guide for all ages to mental health help, without redirecting users to another web page. 

Building mental health capacity in Bushwick 

This multi-tiered proposal would fund a variety of mental health initiatives in Bushwick: a resource fair to spread mental health awareness, workshops for parents to understand how to better understand their child experiencing a mental illness, monthly therapy sessions that provide a space for people to talk about the issues they are facing and mental self-care kits to distribute at the events. 

Coney Island (11224, 11235)

Mental Health Support App

This phone application would provide a downloadable list of mental health resources and therapists located within Coney Island’s two zip codes in an effort to push away the stigma of mental health issues for young adults. 

Frontline Mental Health Advocacy through Barber Shops and Salons 

This initiative would form a coalition with 19 barber shops and 17 salons to better distribute mental health information and resources to foreign language speakers.

Coney Island Youth and Family Movement for Mental Health 

Three days packed with 10 events focused around mental health for ages 12-24 could be funded to discuss topics such as healthy cooking, yoga, massage and other activities to achieve better mental health. 

East Flatbush (11224, 11235) 

Well Family Mental Health Conference 

This proposal would fund a two-day mental health conference in May for the whole family featuring mental health professionals of color who will teach techniques such as stress reduction, communicating feelings and navigating trauma and healing. Families who participate will awarded scholarships for 6 months of therapy, meditation, yoga and fitness training to further their mental health journey post-conference. 

Teen Nights 

This proposal would launch bi-weekly nights focused on improving the mental health of teens in East Flatbush and East New York. Teens will be taught tangible wellness techniques that can be used after class and will do therapeutic activities in class such as coloring and group dance. 

Wellness Center

If funded, this proposal would create a community space for quality health and services regardless of insurance status where residents can both make appointments or pop in to speak with licensed professional on topics such as nutrition education, physical fitness, massage therapy and mental health. 

East New York and Starrett City (11207, 11208, 11239)

Senior Wellness Brunches/Nights (Sip and Brunch)

This initiative would open up special brunches and nights for seniors packed with activities to improve their wellness such as music, storytelling and workshops focused on mental health. 

The Community Wellness Experience 

This proposal would fund Well Space, a place dedicated to supporting the community in mental, health and financial wellness. Members will be exposed to a variety of holistic health methods such as aromatherapy and yoga. 

Mentally Healthy Fair 

 This event is dreamt up as a spin on your average health fair to be a space where community members can meet fitness instructors and health-based organizations who support families. Attendees can meet the professionals whose services they would be using and are able to make future appointments and participate in workshops created for the whole family. 

Flatbush and Midwood (11226)

Council of People’s Organization Youth and Wellbeing run club

If funded this proposal would provide a run club for youth three times a week, where they will be taught the mental and physical benefits of exercise. Training will eventually lead to the completion of a 5K run. 

Council of People’s Organization After School Program 

Students would have the opportunity to attend after school sessions at the Council of People’s Organization where they will have access to recreational activities, homework help and healthy snacks. 

Council of People’s Organization Youth Farmers after school program 

Students in the community will be able to tend to a collective garden three days a week after school where they will learn every step of taking care of a greenspace. 

Flatlands and Canarsie (11236) 

Canarsie youth mental health movement 

This project would build an application to connect students at Canarsie High School with mental health resources and help bridge the divide within communities of color to equip the youth as agents of change. 

Connecting a mental health therapist to high school students 

This initiative would work with Canarsie’s high school principals to provide mental health therapists, healthy eating and cooking and other mentally beneficial activities to the community’s students. 

Reaching the underserved business community in Canarsie, Brooklyn 

This proposal would equip Canarsie’s business community with mental health resources to share with the community they serve and work as a catalyst to mental health awareness. 

Sunset Park (11220, 11232)

Empowering Providers, Strengthening Communities

This project would train frontline social services groups and community leaders to address mental health issues and what contributes to them. 

Mental Health and Social Service Resource Guide 

Academy of Mental and Public Health Services would create a multilingual directory of organizations and private practitioners offering mental health services detailing the languages spoken and how much services cost. The guide will also be offered online. 

Sunset Park Wellness Month 

Academy of Mental and Public Health Services will partner with community organizations to provide an entire month of mental health, wellness and educational programming at locations across the neighborhood. 

If you live in any of these zip codes, don’t forget to vote before Jan. 24 here.