Creating a Healthier Bronx
In New York, the Bronx comes in last place when it comes to our overall health outcomes. Together, we can change these statistics into success stories through expanding our Farmer’s Markets to bring healthy food options to families, investing in food cooperatives, urban farming and incentives to support our grocery stores and supermarkets. Working with our healthcare advocates, not for profits and community partners, we must transform our healthcare system and create easier access to low cost, high quality primary healthcare.
Ensuring Healthcare is Affordable
A horrible reminder of the health disparities our residents face is evident by the Bronx coming in last place amongst New York counties when it comes to positive health outcomes. During COVID-19, many residents who lost the battle were older residents with underlying conditions such as asthma, and obesity. It is important to focus on our overall health care infrastructure and access to affordable and low cost health care for all residents regardless of income and socio-economic status.
Access to affordable healthcare is a fundamental right. As is having a primary health care program and doctor. But despite our efforts, many Bronxites still don’t have insurance and far too many use emergency rooms as a form of primary care. We must work to ensure that every resident has access to health insurance so that they are able to stay healthy and not worry about how they will pay their rent or their next meal should they get sick.
Working with our healthcare advocates, not for profits, and community partners, we can and will transform our healthcare system and create easier access to low cost, high quality primary healthcare.
Providing Healthier Food Options
To promote a healthier lifestyle, we must focus on access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and new ways to provide better choices.
The HealthBucks program has been a great success, allowing residents an option to obtain healthier food in their neighborhood at local Greenmarkets. Although only available in the fall and summer now, I will fight to expand these markets and make them a year round program, giving Bronxites an opportunity to get healthy food throughout the entire year.
Together, we can change the statistics into success stories through expanding our farmer’s markets to bring healthy food options to families, investing in food cooperatives, urban farming and incentives to support our grocery stores and supermarkets.
Ending Food Insecurity
Eliminating hunger and food insecurity is a top priority as a candidate for Bronx Borough President. This starts with promoting outreach to applicants for SNAP and EBT benefits which have been proven successful to help families purchase food every day. But we also need the federal government to increase eligibility and funding, which I will continue to advocate for with our federal officials.
During my time in Council, I was proud to support efforts to provide support and funding to organizations that support worker cooperatives. These initiatives create opportunities for entrepreneurship and access to employment, particularly in the food industry. I’ll continue to work with EDC & SBS on programs that will increase opportunities and access for cooperatives to get started across the Bronx. We must build economic wealth in our borough and marginalized communities and worker cooperatives are a smart way to do so that will empower our neighborhoods.
In the early days of COVID-19 the pandemic the city established Get Food NYC, providing direct food services for residents 62+ unable to obtain food themselves. I will fight to ensure that this program should continue after the pandemic given the issues our seniors face and that many will continue to face in the coming years ahead. Many of our seniors already have difficulty getting around, this program will ensure they access to food no matter the circumstances.
Expanding Access to Outdoor Activities
The Bronx is blessed with parkland and open space, we must invest and capitalize on this. I will work to renovate existing parks and encourage the creation of brand new parks. Our park space provides so many opportunities to contribute to the health of all residents like urban agriculture, farming and the ability to grow food in our communities. Gardens and green thumbs are easily accessible and are another opportunity for residents to gain access to healthy food.
These spaces also give us an opportunity to get outside and exercise. The pandemic has kept many people from being able to take part in their regular exercise routines due to the closure or limited occupancy of gyms and fitness centers. I’ll work to provide more programming options for activities like Zumba classes and community bike rides to get people off of the couch and onto their feet.