The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative seeks to improve 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.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


The partnership provides recommendations for fundamentally changing systems that lead to lasting improvements, from the decision-making processes to fostering a shared value for a community health.


The partners employ three key strategies to reduce health issues from an upstream perspective, including: 1) education to mitigate the health effects of poor housing conditions like poor ventilation, mold and lead poisoning; 2) targeting economic factors, such as the burdening costs to families associated with testing, home repairs and maintenance; and 3) creation of a referral program with community partners to streamline available resources.


The collaboration is structured to reflect a collective impact model. As such, the health systems and public health experts work together with community agents to: create a shared agenda, aligning outcomes across diverse partnerships and sectors that promote health and wellness in the community; provide continuous communications through an open forum and foster awareness around community health priorities; and monitor progress on shared metrics.


This innovative approach was crafted and modeled by local leadership, from planning to implementation. Community input, from both key community leaders and residents, is the impetus for the project and the cornerstone of the implementation plan. Through the input received at the Esperanza Neighborhood Association and the Unity Square community meetings, housing-related issues were identified as pressing and important matter to families.


The partners leverage a variety of data sources, including the Community Survey of New Brunswick in which residents share perceptions on various quality of life issues, including neighborhood conditions, safety, and health; and the New Brunswick Shared Indicator Project, which consists of core health and wellness indicators. Data generated is incorporated to better inform how quality, affordable housing can be created and maintained.