Building Healthy NYCHA Communities Through Food

Building Healthy NYCHA Communities Through Food was a multi-year community engagement initiative spearheaded by UNH. Coached by UNH, settlement houses mobilized, engaged and empowered NYCHA residents of all ages to improve NYCHA residents’ access to healthy food and reduce cost and other barriers to its consumption.

Goals included:

  • a resident-driven community planning, outreach, and engagement process (including leadership and volunteer development and participation of residents of all ages);
  • education and training about healthy food (including basic knowledge of nutrition as well as obtaining, distributing, and preparing healthy food) leading to a healthier lifestyle;
  • implementation of more than 40 healthy food access and use projects across seven NYCHA developments; and
  • the integration of healthy food projects into other settlement house programs.

Four settlement houses supported this effort:

Queens Community House (QCH)
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement (RIIS)
SCAN-New York (SCAN)
United Community Centers East NY Farms!

These Settlement Houses supported NYCHA residents in developing and implementing a diverse set of strategies and activities, with significant success in educating and advocating for use of and access to healthy food. UNH provided support and a variety of resources, including videos, brochures, and materials to help with replication.

The following tools and resources were developed to support this initiative and its replication within other NYCHA developments.

Community Planning & Engagement Tools:

Community Planning Meeting Posters for Gathering Community Feedback and Generating Ideas (posters come in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese)

Evaluation Tools

  • Social Engagement and Older Adults Survey
  • Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors on Food: Youth Survey
  • Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors on Food: Adult Survey
  • Empowerment and Food Environment Survey
  • Self-Assessment and Reflection Tool for Food Program Staff


Overview - Building Healthy NYCHA Communities Through Food


Jacob A. Riis Settlement Healthy Food Initiative

Pink Houses & UNH Healthy Food Initiative

Pomonok & UNH Healthy Food Initiative

For more information, please contact:

Terry Kaelber, Director of Institute for Empowered Aging

Civic & Community Engagement

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(212) 967-0322