The Greater Flint Health Coalition and City of Flint Announce Grant Awardees for Health & Safety Mini-Grant Program to Increase Local Community-based Safety Initiatives

The Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) and City of Flint, in partnership with Commit to Fit! and the City’s Blue Badge Community Policing Program, are pleased to announce awardees for the 2012 Health & Safety Mini-Grant Program. The program is designed to increase community-based safety initiatives that have a positive impact on the health and safety of local residents.

In the City of Flint, the violent crime rate is over 400% of the national average and safety remains an issue for many individuals and families. The goals of this Health & Safety Mini-Grant Program are to improve safety by activating residents’ ability to work together on efforts to improve neighborhood environments and create safer places for residents to be physically and socially active. Program goals will be achieved through supporting neighborhood groups, block clubs, local associations, security watches, and non-profit organizations which will use mini-grant funds to create environmental changes that promote safety.

The projects of grant awardees, which will be completed from August through December, 2012, are briefly described below:

·Second Chance Church and New Jerusalem Full Baptist Church will complete the “Choose Life for a Healthy and Safe Community” Project to improve safety by re-developing an unsafe, vacant lot with both beautification and better lighting. This project will be located on the border of the City of Flint and Flint Township near Flushing Road and Ballenger Road.

·The OWIR Block Club will complete the “Light the Night” Project that installs lighting throughout neighborhood sites to increase safety; neighborhood residents and block club members will assist with installation and maintenance to continue use of lights after the grant is completed. This project will be located within the City of Flint near Hamilton Street and Dupont Street.

·University Park Association will complete a “Neighborhood Security Watch” Project that will provide a safer neighborhood to residents by increasing visibility, resources, and activities of an existing neighborhood security watch. This project will be located in the City of Flint’s University Park area near Saginaw Street.

·The East Bishop & East Flint Park Block Club will complete “Project Lights” that installs lighting at the homes of neighborhood residents to increase safety. Residents have agreed to pay for electricity and maintain use of lights after the grant is completed. This project will be located within the City of Flint in blocks between North Saginaw Street and Martin Luther King Avenue.

·The College Cultural Neighborhood Association will complete the “Neighborhood Watch Mini-Station” Project to increase community empowerment and safety by supporting a police mini-station and using it as a place for operations of a neighborhood watch. This project is located in the City of Flint’s college cultural area near Mott Community College, Applewood Estate, and Pierce, Woodlawn, and Burroughs Parks.

·The Rollingwood Watch Group will complete the “Security Needs” Project that utilizes security signage to raise awareness of the neighborhood’s crime watch program. This project is located just east of Dort Highway near the intersection of East Pierson Road and Branch Road.

·The Genesee Township/North Beecher Neighborhood Watch will complete the “North Beecher Flight from Blight” Project to improve neighborhood safety through beautification activities, purchasing trimmers, mowers, rakes, and shovels to be used by the Neighborhood Watch program to clean up and re-purpose multiple neighborhood sites. This project will work in the areas near Beecher and Genesee.

·The Max Brandon Park Block Club will complete the “Neighborhood Safety Project” that increases safety through the purchasing, installation, and maintenance of lighting and surveillance systems for neighborhood streets, utilizing solar units that will continue to be used beyond the grant period. This project is located in the City of Flint near Max Brandon Park.

·Don’t Dump on Me Community Gardens will complete a “Community Garden” Project that uses a multi-generational engagement approach to expand the safe environment of a community garden and teach healthy eating habits. This project will be located in Beecher, just north of Carpenter Road.

Upon completion of the Health and Safety Mini-Grants, the GFHC and the City of Flint will convene all grantees for an additional community meeting to discuss the success of these efforts in improving community safety. All mini-grant funding is provided by the Greater Flint Health Coalition, which is supporting this initiative as a component of the GFHC’s County Health Rankings Action Plan, a 10-year effort launched in April, 2011 to strategically improve the health of Genesee County/City of Flint residents. In addition to the mini-grant program, the Action Plan also includes the Commit to Fit! campaign to promote health behavior improvement among residents, the Commit to Fit! Smoke-free Toolkit to encourage the creation of smoke-free environments, and additional efforts focused on improving health behaviors through schools, youth programs, businesses, and healthcare providers.