Mary Tobin can barely contain her excitement about the progress Brownsville is making.
Tobin is the director of The Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of Community Solutions to address employment, safety, and neighborhood conditions. She knows the challenges the community faces, and the stats on high poverty, low graduation rates, and other issues that, she says, keep her up at night. But as she and her team work every day with members of the community trying to improve their lives, she can’t help but feel awed by the potential of Brownsville.
Our new report, From Strengths to Solutions: An Asset-Based Approach to Meeting Community Needs in Brownsville, highlights the issues that face Brownsville and many of the efforts underway to address them. The report found that more than half – 54 percent – of Brownsville children are growing up in poverty. According to the report, much of that is driven by low employment rates. Fewer than half of working-age Brownsville residents are employed.
The Brownsville Partnership is working to change that. One of the cornerstones of the nonprofit Community Solutions’ anti-homelessness and anti-poverty work, the Partnership has been working since 2011 to identify and amplify the community’s strengths. The Partnership convenes other organizations and agencies to maximize resources and funnel them into effective programs that beautify open spaces, expand access to job training and placement and education, open satellite Boys and Girls Club programs and other youth enrichment programs in local facilities, help the 73rd Precinct engage youth, increase the efficacy of faltering systems like public housing, and otherwise equip Brownsville residents with the tools they need to thrive.