The Vital Brooklyn Initiative


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Vital Brooklyn?

Vital Brooklyn is a model for community development and wellness, breaking down barriers to health and wellbeing through eight (8) integrated areas of investment: Open Space and Recreation; Healthy Food; Education; Economic Empowerment; Community-Based Violence Prevention; Community-Based Health Care; Affordable Housing; and Resiliency. This targeted initiative leverages State programs and resources to empower New Yorkers in Central Brooklyn to improve their wellbeing.

Why Central Brooklyn?

Social and economic indicators show that Central Brooklyn is one of the most disadvantaged areas in all of New York State, with measurably higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, limited access to healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity, high rates of violence and crime, wide economic disparities from unemployment, and poverty levels, and inadequate access to high quality health care and mental health services.

How is Central Brooklyn defined?

Vital Brooklyn is serving Central Brooklyn communities as defined by the following State Assembly districts: 42nd; 43rd; 53rd; 54th; 55th; 56th; 57th; 58th; 59th; and 60th. The neighborhoods within include: Bedford Stuyvesant; Brownsville; Bushwick; Canarsie; Crown Heights; Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill; East Flatbush; East New York; Prospect Heights; and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

What types of projects and initiatives are being advanced?

The State is funding the following programs and projects within the eight Vital Brooklyn focus areas:

· Open Space and Recreation — Maximizing green space and revitalizing recreation facilities within walking distance of every neighborhood

· Healthy Food — Connecting Upstate growers with Downstate families through Farm-to-Table initiatives that will also provide youth with job training and build life-long healthy habits

· Comprehensive Education & Youth Development—Expanding wraparound support services to schools, and creating new nature-based learning programs connecting students to Jamaica Bay and state ecology and resiliency efforts

· Economic Development & Job Creation—Delivering financial literacy tools and skilled job training in the community to young adults and youth

· Community-Based Violence Prevention—Expanding violence prevention programs, creating opportunities for positive youth engagement, and increasing support for victims of violence

· Community-Based Health Care—Establishing new health care facilities in the community, investing in physical and clinical expansion of eligible hospitals, and increasing access to primary care providers and specialists

· Affordable Housing—Building new affordable housing options, that are green and healthy, and support wider community uses such as nonprofit and medical space

· Resiliency—Investing in renewable and resilient energy sources, energy efficiency and green jobs training

How is Vital Brooklyn funded?

The $1.4 billion plan employs a comprehensive suite of resources funded through the State budget:

· Community-Based Health Care – $700 million capital investment

· Affordable Housing – $563 million

· Open Space and Other Programming - $140 million

How is the State implementing the community-based health care project?

Following the appropriation of $700 million as part of the Health Care Facility Transformation Program: Kings County, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) commissioned Northwell Health to conduct a feasibility study to develop recommendations for providing comprehensive, sustainable health care to residents of Central Brooklyn. The resulting report, The Brooklyn Study: Reshaping the Future of Healthcare, is available online. Recommendations include creating a new regional health care system—as done by Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, and Interfaith Medical Center in the formation of One Brooklyn Health—developing an extensive primary and ambulatory care network, and creating a focus on addressing social determinants of health. In March 2017, NYS DOH and DASNY issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for healthcare projects that aligned with the facility investments and transformation strategies outlined in the Northwell report. The RFA deadline was May 5, 2017 and the RFA is available online. NYS DOH and DASNY expect to announce awards no earlier than August 2017.

How will the State evaluate applications?

Applications will be evaluated based on applicant eligibility as defined in New York State Public Health Law and section three of the RFA. A few examples of the evaluation criteria include: the extent to which the proposed facility investments are consistent those included in the Northwell plan, The Brooklyn Study: Reshaping the Future of Healthcare; the extent to which proposed projects are aligned with Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program goals and objectives; the extent to which the proposed projects further the development of primary care and other outpatient services; the extent to which the proposed projects contribute to the long-term sustainability of the applicant or preservation of essential health services; and the extent to which the proposed projects involve partnerships with community-based health care providers; and the extent to which the proposed projects are part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition or other significant corporate restructuring activity intended to create a financially sustainable system of care.

Where will the clinics in the ambulatory care network be located?

Consistent with the requirements of the RFA, the new ambulatory care facilities will be located in areas of Central and Northeastern Brooklyn that have been identified as having the greatest service gaps. These facilities are expected to add approximately 500,000 new ambulatory care visits a year, which will more than double the number of visits that currently exist in the area. These facilities will supplement the capacity of existing community-based providers and will be developed in partnership with them where possible.

How did the State ensure the input of community stakeholders in the development of the RFA?

NYS DOH convened a series of community engagement sessions, in which Northwell Health participated to inform their study, that included three major activities: 1) surveys of community perceptions were conducted through a structured questionnaire; 2) facilitated small group discussions were held on specific health issues (e.g., cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV/AIDS, etc.); and 3) eight (8) community engagement meetings where individuals provided testimonials on a wide range of topics, including their vision of what type of health care system would best serve them. The community engagement meetings were led by the New York State Commissioner of Health with representatives of the Governor’s Office, NYS DOH and elected officials in attendance, along with Northwell Health staff.

Will there be another cycle of capital funding for projects that may not be awarded as part of the RFA?

At this time there is no plan for an additional cycle of capital funding for these projects outside of the RFA. However, the State budget frequently makes appropriations for new capital projects, and it is possible that projects not awarded as part of this RFA could be funded as part of a future budgetary appropriation.

Is $700 million for the healthcare transformation sufficient?

$700 million is only the capital support for the Health Care Facility Transformation Program: Kings County. The State expects to continue providing substantial and ongoing operating support—estimated at approximately $300M each year—to the four private health systems in Central Brooklyn through the five-year transformation (2017-2021). When factoring the annual operating support for the hospitals, estimated funding support (capital and operating) will total $2.2 billion in State support over the five-year period.

How is “affordable housing” defined?

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYS HCR) finances a range of housing types across a range of incomes based on community needs. NYS HCR works with local stakeholders to better understand and define their affordable housing goals. The majority of units financed in New York City serve households up to 60 percent of the area median income (~$45,000/family of 3). NYS HCR also utilizes programming to serve moderate and middle-income households (60%-120% AMI), seniors, people living in supportive housing, and also promote homeownership opportunities.

How will the various Vital Brooklyn investments be implemented?

Multiple State agencies are coordinating in implementing the Vital Brooklyn model. Implementing agencies will competitively select partners in implementation through their existing solicitation models, and will be seeking to leverage additional resources to bring Vital Brooklyn concepts to fruition. Requests for Proposals and other solicitations will be broadly advertised, when released.

How will the community be engaged?

The State is implementing the Vital Brooklyn model with a bottom-up community-driven approach. Key projects and programs have been identified by New York State agencies—but the State feels it is imperative that these resources best meet community’s needs. With the support of State Assembly Members, Community Advisory Councils are being convened across Central Brooklyn, to hear directly from communities. These Community Advisory Councils are charged with engaging stakeholders at all levels to determine how programs can best benefit the community, in addition to identifying additional needs within the eight targeted areas of focus.

Will Vital Brooklyn benefit the central Brooklyn economy?

The following community reinvestment goals will ensure Central Brooklyn reaps the rewards of this initiative:

· 255 net new jobs created through the new ambulatory care network

· Exceed State’s 30% Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) requirement on all capital spending

· Leverage local institutions to create new and expanded workforce training opportunities

· Grow and strengthen partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure long-lasting impact

What's the timeline for implementation?

Multiple State agencies are working together to implement the Vital Brooklyn model, with the following anticipated timeline:

By the end of 2017:

· Existing programs in all 8 focus areas expand programming in Central Brooklyn

· Requests for Funding Proposals for new programs released

· Begin participatory design process for engaging community in plans for applicable housing and open space projects

By the end of 2018:

· New programs launched

· Recreational capital improvements begin

· Contracts awarded for new housing developments

By the end of 2019:

· Completed development plan for ambulatory care and begin implementation

· Completed schoolyard renovations and open for community use

· Construction underway at all new housing developments