Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.

Community Health Ambassadors conduct a training for a group of tenants

New Brunswick is a city with significant assets, juxtaposed against significant inequity. On one side, it is a community with richly diverse neighborhoods, a bustling downtown, and an innovative and popular cultural arts center. But on the other end, New Brunswick also has pockets that experience a very different side of the city; nearly one third of its 56,100 residents live in poverty and/or without a high school diploma. Unable to speak up against these structural housing inequalities impacting countless generations, New Brunswick’s residents continue to feel the everyday health consequences of their city’s apparent health equalities.

In collaboration with BUILD, The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative improves health outcomes by mitigating housing issues facing residents within the Esperanza and Unity Square neighborhoods; two neighborhoods with some of the greatest health and social disparities within New Brunswick, NJ. The Collaborative also looks to make system changes to our local health and social institutions, including government, to promote, sustain, and ensure healthy housing practices in the city.

Over the past three years, the New Brunswick BUILD community has been able to:

  • Distributed 30K+ COVID-19 care kits, which included educational information, soap, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer to the local community;
  • Conducted 20+ community workshops on healthy housing and tenant rights;
  • And assisted 100+ New Brunswick residents in mitigating their housing issues.

“Through a shared commitment with community-based organizations, health care, government officials, residents, and other partners we can shape how the city will grow and change in the future.”
— John Dowd, Middlesex County Office of Health Services

Read more about BUILD New Brunswick’s impact in Esperanza and Unity Square and stay tuned monthly for more BUILD community stories!