NYC Council District 33 was one of three districts to participate in Participatory Budgeting (PBNYC) this year due to COVID-19. District 33 began participating in 2012, PBNYC’s 2nd year, when a total of eight districts participated. In 2019, 33 NYC Council districts participated, before COVID-19 reared its head.
Council Member Stephen Levin offered $30K allotted from the NYC Council budget to fund expense projects to be split amongst those selected by community during PBNYC Vote Week (April 5–April 14). Benjamin Solotaire, Community Liaison and Participatory Budgeting Coordinator for Council Member Levin’s office, said, “The volunteer committee for District 33’s PBNYC wanted to focus on programs that could serve the immediate needs of the residents. These projects were conceived of, vetted by, and just this past week voted on by residents of D33.”
Council Member Levin made the announcement on his Facebook Page of the four winning projects selected from the eleven that were on the ballot. “I just want to thank everyone for their participation on this year’s Participatory Budgeting process. Unlike any year we’ve ever had, so much more difficult, so many more challenges.” He thanked Ben Solotaire for “the incredible job yet again this year” and he thanked “all the district committee members, anyone who contributed their time, their effort, their energy to keeping PB going this year during the pandemic. Amazing work everybody! And I want to thank everybody who came out to vote, who made sure you had your voices heard in the budget this year.”
The list and the descriptions of the winners are below the video.
Taylor-Wythe Food Pantry
Estimated cost: $10,000; Location: Los Sures and El Puente, 80 Clymer St. Brooklyn, NY 11211
Los Sures and El Puente are partnering together with volunteers and community residents to establish a consistent food pantry at Taylor-Wythe to address food insecurity in our neighborhood. Funding will allow us to purchase needed equipment, transportation, and supplies to make the food distribution available on a regular basis with fresh produce and other healthy items.
Increase Kids’ Book Access & Ownership
Estimated cost: $5,000; Location: Brooklyn Book Bodega, District 33 city parks, and NYCHA housing
Distribute 5,000 books to kids and families. The pandemic has exacerbated learning inequities for kids in District 33. Kids & teens will receive high-interest free books that are theirs to keep. Plus, reading tip sheets to support reading engagement. Books are critical. Children who grow up in homes with 100+ books have better life outcomes.
Intro to Trade Careers for Our Youth
Estimated cost: $10,000; Location: TownSquare, IS 318, and Williamsburg HS for Architecture and Design
Trades can offer terrific career opportunities: construction, drafting, electricians, plumbing, welding and more. With our partner schools, IS 318 and Williamsburg HS for Architecture & Design, we will hold workshops to introduce students to professionals, unions and companies. We seek to inform, excite and open career opportunities for our youth.
Gardening at Gowanus NYCHA buildings:
Estimated cost: $10,000; Location Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Warren Street Houses, Gowanus Houses, and Wyckoff Gardens.
Residents at the three public housing complexes Warren Street Houses, Gowanus Houses, and Wyckoff Gardens will work with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to buy gardening equipment and help spruce up the lawns on their campuses. This will help beautify the area, provide greenery for residents, reduce stormwater runoff, and provide habitat for pollinators.