2016 Wealth

Banks and warehoused residential units—two inaccessible resources

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August 20, 2016: Wealth

Another hot day and another hot topic—wealth.

Wealth disparities underlie essentially all our other health topics. It’s hard to “fix” a health problem like asthma without acknowledging that wealth determines the stress on the household, determines the quality of the housing (mold, pests, pesticides), determines the exposure to tobacco smoke, and can even determine the quality of the outdoor air (diesel traffic): all these factors can promote asthma despite appropriate medical management.

Of course, wealth disparities are hard to fix as well. Where to start? As with every Cada Paso walk, we relied on partners. Specifically, we were grateful to have the New Economy Project provide a tour of our own neighborhood, highlighting the wealth characteristics; and they shared strategies for wealth equity!

Specifically, we focused on gentrification, banking, and food access.

Topic: Warehousing is the intentional vacancy of residential building units, often by landlords who hope to cash-in by selling off a property for high-end development. Fewer properties available means higher prices for those that are, and a push toward displacing low-income residents out of the neighborhood.
Action: We submitted a letter to the City Council Speaker’s Office in support of current proposals that would discourage warehousing.

Topic: East Harlem has fewer banks than most parts of NYC, and many residents don’t have access to them due to incomplete documentation and start-up costs. East Harlem does have plenty of pawn shops and check cashing places. That means that fees are taken for every transaction and it’s hard to save money. Without a bank account, it’s also difficult to build toward financial security.
Action: We learned that East Harlem has a credit union! With only an IDNYC card and $5, any adult can start an account. (

Food Access
Topic: Consistent access to quality affordable food choices is a perennial concern for many East Harlem residents. The good news is that there are more Greenmarkets and Green Carts these days. There are also twice as many community gardens in East Harlem than most other parts of the city, for those interested in growing food.
Action: We used our Health Bucks at La Marqueta Youth Greenmarket and concluded our walk at the Herb Garden where we enjoyed fresh fruit and green space.

Another great walk!



Date: August 20th, 2016
Adults: 22
Children: 29
Total: 51

Miles: 1.37
Time: about 4 hours
Calories: 600 kcal**

Co-leaders: Stella Chong, Cappy Collins, Deyanira Del Río, Mario Lavelanet, Deysi Martinez, Alicia López, Emma Murphy, Juleon Robinson, Rosa Uribe, Lauren Wilfong

Walking 2.0 mph, slow; 130lbs = 150 kcal/hour

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