New Food Justice Voices issue out now! Our Food Justice Voices series is intended to amplify the voices and experiences of grassroots leaders that aren’t heard enough, while creating awareness and educating readers on various issues connected to hunger and poverty.
The first Food Justice Voices issue in 2018, “Neighbors Together on Hunger, Health, and Housing in New York City,” was created by WhyHunger grassroots partner and ally, Neighbors Together, an emergency food provider in Brooklyn, NY that goes beyond the “emergency” by working through three programs that fight hunger and poverty at its root causes. They recognize that hunger and housing are interconnected, with the affordable housing crisis in NYC steadily increasing hunger and negatively affecting community members’ quality of life. In this piece you’ll hear accounts of members’ experience firsthand through video testimonial and the comprehensive work Neighbors Together is doing to empower their community and advocate to address the lack of affordable housing and to protect against the effects of gentrification for longtime residents.
Neighbors Together’s Community Action Program involves members in policy and legislative advocacy to address our mission to end hunger and poverty.
We sat down with Amy Blumsack, Neighbor Together’s Director of Organizing and Policy, Nathalie Smythe our Director of Programs and HR, and four of our members, Rollie Hernandez, Annette Johnson, Lisa Jones, and Deanna Lewin to talk more about housing, hunger, and health in Central Brooklyn.
Housing Instability in New York City
Affordable housing isn’t something that comes to mind when one thinks of New York City with its multitude of shiny skyscrapers. Yet, the lack of affordable housing for very low income New Yorkers is one of the most pressing issues facing members at Neighbors Together. “We have heard from our members through member surveys, focus groups, one on one meetings with our Member Advocates, and conversations during our meal service that affordable housing, homelessness and housing instability are of major concern,” said Amy Blumsack, Director of Organizing and Policy at Neighbors Together. “As the cost of market rate housing continues to rise, many of our members, who are either working or on fixed incomes, have fewer and fewer housing options.”