For Immediate Release
November 04, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced his Community Engagement Plan to address the chronic poverty and pervasive violence that has plagued Dorchester’s Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood. Two weeks ago, Mayor Menino sat down with neighborhood residents, public health and public safety officials, and community partners to discuss the neighborhood’s issues and develop a strategy in which the City of Boston and residents of Bowdoin/Geneva would mobilize together. At the meeting, Mayor Menino promised to create a Neighborhood Response Team and agreed that the City would align its resources to support 3 areas of need articulated by residents: education and jobs, mental health and housing, and youth programming.
“The Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood is facing very serious issues and these next steps will be critical to making residents feel safe and secure in their homes,” Mayor Menino said. “We cannot solve these problems alone, but with a committed, coordinated effort that includes targeted public resources and community engagement from residents, we will turn this neighborhood around.”
The Community Engagement Plan features a comprehensive commitment from city service providers, focusing primarily on health and human services issues that directly impact neighborhood vitality. The continued involvement of neighborhood residents will also be a crucial component of the stabilization effort. A resident will co-chair the Neighborhood Response Team with a city worker and the team will hold bi-weekly meetings in the community to discuss progress, address problems, and hold each other accountable.
The core neighborhood stabilization priorities are:
Neighborhood Response Team
Mayor Menino has directed city agencies to expand services in the area as part of the Neighborhood Response Team, a cross-departmental group representing Public Works, Transportation, Inspectional Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. The Team will focus on basic city services and improvements such as street lighting and sidewalk repairs, prioritizing trash and debris removal, and cracking down on problem properties and health and safety violations.
Education and Job Training
To improve access to job training and employment resources, the City will work with Bowdoin/Geneva community organizations to hold resource fairs and workshops for residents focusing on interview coaching, resume writing, strategies for job searches, and other employment skills enhancements. The City will also work to identify and secure additional funding for young adult GED programming.
Health and Wellness Aid
The City will hire one additional youth worker for the neighborhood and will provide trauma response support through the Violence Intervention Program run by the Public Health Commission. The added personnel will work closely with the NRT and community alliance to connect with residents who need help. The Emergency Shelter Commission is also actively engaging the homeless population in this area, working in cooperation with the City’s youth and street workers, service providers, and non-profit partners.
Enhanced Youth Programming
Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) has planned targeted outreach to increase enrollment in programs at the Holland and Cleveland Community Centers, as well as the non-profits and other organizations that serve the area. BCYF and City partners offer several programs focusing on important issues such as conflict resolution, leadership, and self-defense. Programs such as Boston’s Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) will also expand the number of Bowdoin/Geneva youth in its program, including transitional jobs. To further support whole families, ReadBoston will offer Early Words sessions to parents and caregivers of 0-4 year olds, and childcare as well as dinner will be included at these workshops.