St. Nicholas Houses is located in Central Harlem, Manhattan, the development is between West 127th and West 131st Streets, Douglass and Powell Boulevards.

September 30, 1954

completed

14

14-story buildings

1,568

apartment units

6,000

population

Vision and Background

The Saint Nicholas Houses is a New York City Housing Authority development located in Central Harlem between 127th and 131st Streets, North to South, 7th Avenue and Frederick Douglass Avenue, East to West – just a few blocks from the historic Apollo Theater. Built under Title of the 1949 Federal Housing Act (also known as the Slum Clearance and Community Development and Redevelopment Act), the development is composed of 13 buildings, each building 14-stories and home to a total of 1,526 apartments. The development is located in a vibrant and rapidly changing community. St. Nicholas Houses currently has a population of 3,525 residents of which 60.5% identify as African American and 35.5% as Hispanic. While this diversity is a source of strength, the changes that are occuring on the peripheral space that surrounds St. Nicholas, are also playing themselves out on the campus in a more granular fashion.

Currently, Saint Nicholas residents are emotionally and mentally attempting to reconcile the experience of decaying public housing infrastructure alongside hyper-gentrification. The influx of more affluent residents has increased the cost of living in surrounding areas and heightened feelings of isolation and income insecurity. These factors coupled with systemic divestment in low- and middle-income safety nets, including public housing, have created conditions of poverty that correlate with deteriorating perceptions of public safety, and social cohesion and collective efficacy.

According to the 2015 DOH Community Health profile 39% of adults have college degrees, but one in five adults have not completed high school in Central Harlem. Over one in ten Central Harlem adults ages 16 and older is unemployed and nearly half of residents spend more than 30% of their monthly gross income on rent’. This pressure on people’s income has a particularly insidious impact on youth,whose immediate access to employment in the surrounding area is in the service industry, namely retail, which provides little around the area of professional development. Institutions like Harlem Children’s Zone have played a great role in reversing negative trends of youth unemployment and educational equity, in central harlem in particular,where the out of school and work age group (18-24) drop from 36 to 22% “. While there has been a moderate level of success in addressing these systemic problems. In St. Nicholas houses the sentiments amongst the older residents is that youth, with particular focus on employability is a key concern.

The Neighborhood Stat (Stat) 25 member team represents a cross-section of intergenerational Saint Nicholas Houses residents, city agencies and community-based organizations. The NStat Team is pleased to submit this action plan, which aims to serve disengaged youth ages 14-24 in educational, personal and professional development activities. This project specifically targets young people who are congregating in areas adjacent to buildings 250 and 260 along West 131st Street. One of the primary concerns identified by residents of the St. Nicholas House is youth engagement; specific to their concern is how to best integrate young people into the larger structure of the community like community board meetings, participatory budgeting and build the block meetings all having material importance in the trajectory of the community.

Currently, 41.8% of the campus is under the age of 25. This data indicates a high concentration of young people, so youth development would naturally be the heart of any plan aimed at improving community efficacy and considering that the unemployment rate for central harlem, is double the city average; it was noted in a study conducted around NYCHA communities, that those NYCHA campuses that are facing rapid gentrification are not benefiting from the increase in the private amenities that come along with a change in the social support system.

The NStat team stressed the need for specific space dedicated to the youth and the importance of intergenerational connection. Under this thematic, the residents envisions the creation of a youth hub. The “St. Nick Youth Engagement & Career Development Hub project and the St. Nicholas Houses NStat Team, as the stewards of the hub, will engage St. Nicholas Houses youth around the themes of employment, economic mobility, and community cohesion and collective efficacy, Specifically, the HUB will act as both a place to test new and innovative ways of engaging youth by focusing on user generated content, and supplementing traditional programs available through institutions like the Harlem Children’s Zone. The Team will engage youth in civic action while teaching job skills and the importance of collective power. As secondary goals, the NStat Team aims to dismantle intergenerational barriers and preserve neighborhood history, ensure young people can participate in the local economy, and reach their personal potential. These goals are critical for preventing the loss community culture and ensuring the economic viability of existing residents and future generations of residents.

What is MAP?

MAP is short for the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. The purpose of MAP is to create safe, strong neighborhoods through community and government joint problem-solving with the Role of increasing public safety. Addressing crime in the MAP communities means investing in People through economic and social supports, investing in Places to promote vibrant, well-maintained neighborhoods, and investing in Networks to ensure systems are fair and to strengthen resident and government ability to work together and trust one another.

What is Neighborhood Stat?

Neighborhood Stat is an accountability mechanism that convened City agencies, local residents, and community stakeholders on a routine basis to identify site-specific and citywide systems solutions to neighborhood public safety concerns. Through Neighborhood State, community and government partners identify issues, establish priorities and implement solutions in their neighborhood.

What is the MAP Stakeholder Team?

Under the facilitation of the MAP Engagement Coordinator, representatives from City agencies and local community organizations will join residents to form a MAP Stakeholder Team. The Stakeholder Team will work together to address local challenges by collecting data, identifying public safety concerns, creating action plans, and implementing collaborative solutions. Each Team will include fifteen residents across age and gender and ten local representatives from MAP partners (including NYCHA Property Managers, NCOS, and government outreach workers).

Who can join the Stakeholder Team?

All residents of a MAP development are eligible to complete an application. Ideal candidates should be passionate about helping the community, solution-oriented, eager to learn new skills, and willing to engage and work well with others in their development. The Stakeholder Team will set priority areas and will invite representatives from MAP partner community-based organizations and City agencies whose work most directly overlaps with those priorities. Community-based organizations and City agency representatives can email the MAP Engagement Coordinator for further information and other ways to get involved.

What is the commitment?

MAP Stakeholder Team members will be asked to commit an average of 10 hours a month. During busy seasons (such as the summer project implementation) we expect that members will be asked to volunteer additional hours. Each month members will be asked to attend 3-4 activities, which may include meetings, trainings, public events, and/or community benefit projects.

What is considered during the application process?

Stakeholder Team candidate selection will be based on many factors including, but not limited to: skill sets, community networks and relationships, commitment to creative problem solving, passion for mission, and team spirit. Candidates must attend an info session and submit a complete application. If you miss an info session please contact the MAP Engagement Coordinator listed above.

Are there member incentives?

Members will receive a stipend and professional development training from experts around the city.

How long are member terms?

Member terms will end June 2019 unless otherwise terminated.

Volunteer Opportunity

Stakeholder Team Posted: August 2019

St. Nicholas NSTAT Stakeholder Team Roles and Responsibility

Outreach Team
  • Engage and educate residents of the community on available resources
  • Become updated with community resources
  • Participate in community events and meetings
  • Provide or link residents to MAP Partners and other related resources
  • To create and implement a recruitment plan for youth and volunteers
  • Reaching-out and becoming familiar with MAP Partners and surrounding community organizations
Coaches and Facilitators Team
  • Builds and creates community in the group, making sure that each person is included, heard, and valued
  • Help youth and volunteers bring their own experience and way of living in Coaches and the space shared
  • Ensures the meetings, events, and activities end on time and maintain its covenant
  • Establishes and maintains a comfortable environment in the session of inclusive tone and feel
Maintenance and Neighborhood Stat team
  • Clarifying the goals and context for sustaining the team efforts
  • Creating a plan to anticipate what resources will be necessary to sustain the team efforts
  • Evaluate and/or identify strategies to sustain team efforts through the Neighborhood Stat team and youth council
  • Develop a communication plan (calendar, democratic voting, youth voice Team input) to keep all levels (property manager and residents) informed
  • Outline a specific action plan (including strategy session) to sustain
  • Maintain the cleanliness of physical space
  • Fundraising to maintain day-to-day operations
  • Distribution of stipends to youth and volunteers to maintain the retention rate

Stakeholder Team Inquiry Form