Community Voices Heard (CVH) is the lead community engagement partner in an exciting initiative to pilot Participatory Budgeting in New York City. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. In other words, the people who pay taxes (all of us) decide how tax dollars get spent. The Brazilian city of Porto Alegre started the first full PB process in 1989, for its municipal budget. Since then, PB has spread to more than 1,000 cities around the world.
The New York City Chapter was founded 20 years ago by a group of welfare recipients that were eager to get their voices heard in the debates about welfare taking place at the time. Since its founding, the Chapter has evolved and is now a multi-issue chapter that organizes both citywide and in particular neighborhoods ("hubs"). CVH has members in all 5 boroughs of NYC, but has a particularly deep presence in hubs in Upper Manhattan, The Bronx, and The Rockaways. We hope to expand to even more communities in the coming year!
The NYC Chapter currently has committees, projects, and/ or hubs focusing on a variety of issues:
•Welfare / Workforce:
Organizing people with experience with public assistance to collectively work to monitor and fight for improvements in the welfare system, including ending the Work Experience Program (WEP), enhancing employment services and training opportunities, creating new pathways to move people into good jobs, and more.
o For more information or to get involved, contact Susannah Dyen (Susannah@CVHaction.org).
Organizing people living in NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings to fight for improvements in the stock and the preservation of it; we are currently working to make sure funding is secure for the housing, to prioritize infrastructure needs for funding, to end toxic mold and shorten repair turnaround time; to enhance resident decision-making through things like Participatory Budgeting in NYCHA; and to explore the intersection of criminal justice issues and public housing.
o For more information or to get involved, contact Jason Schwartz (Jason@CVHaction.org), or Gabriel Strachota (Gabriel@CVHaction.org)
•The Rockaways Hub:
Organizing residents across the 6 public housing developments on the peninsula to become a collective force to bring about improvements in their community; the hub is currently focusing on building out its base of leaders, influencing local development efforts to ensure affordable housing production and access to jobs for local residents, exploring ways to engage in the climate change movement, and more.
oFor more information or to get involved, contact Stephen Roberson (Stephen@CVHaction.org).
Engaging residents in communities around the City in directly deciding how part of the public budget (at least $1 million dollars per City Council district) is spent.
oFor more information or to get involved, contact Aaron Jones (Aaron@CVHaction.org).
•East Harlem Neighborhood Planning:
Organizing a series of public Visioning Workshops (in partnership with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito & CB11) to get input from the broader community to inform the Neighborhood Study and subsequent neighborhood planning & rezoning.
oFor more information or to get involved, contact Daisy Gonzalez (Daisy@CVHaction.org).
New York City Office
115 E. 106th st.
New York, Ny 10029
CVH is helping to lead a large-scale mobilization on May 12 to call on Mayor Bloomberg to close tax loopholes for millionaires and make the big banks pay in order to fund the services so many New Yorkers rely on. The Mayor released his budget today (May 6), and groups are joining in the 'virtual rally' today at 1pm to discuss the impacts of the Mayor's proposal. Join in over at the Facebook page or use the hashtag #OnMay12 on Twitter!