Hard numbers can be one of the most valuable assets for helping the community you love.
That’s why a partnership between Philadelphia non-profit Congreso and Drexel University’s Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public health, has charted neighborhood-specific violence numbers in eastern North Philadelphia — the nexus of the city’s Latino population that includes neighborhoods like Kensington, Port Richmond and Juniata Park.
On June 12th, those numbers were unveiled publicly on a new website, NUAVNow.org, an instant boost to the many neighborhood-based community organizations that need grants to survive because they’re operating with limited funds.
[Photo: Homepage of NUAVNow.org]
“The stakeholders in this community told us that violence was the biggest health issue facing their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Amy Carroll-Scott, an assistant professor at Drexel Dornsife who is leading the Urban Health Collaborative’s efforts. “We wanted to provide numbers specific to their neighborhoods so that they had what they needed, at the ready, when they needed to write grants or advocate for services or policy changes.”
Standing for “Neighborhood United Against Violence,” NUAV presents data from a variety of different sources, all customized to describe violence and related factors in eastern North Philadelphia, displayed through mapping — formally called geographic information services.
“We know, anecdotally, that violence is happening in our community daily, but we’re busy providing services and supporting day-to-day operations, and don’t have the capacity to research the latest trends and numbers,” said Ms. Amy Eusebio, director of Family Wellness at Congreso, which seeks to boost the economic self-sufficiency and well-being of the city’s Latino community. “We thought it was important to have this partnership with Drexel because of that. It helps us and the other organizations that work with us.”
The neighborhoods are spread across multiple city police and public health districts, so numbers specific to this community are not easy to find. In the past, if someone happened to describe the violence or related assets in these specific neighborhoods for a project or a grant, “the data just sat on their computer” once their task was finished, according to Dr. Carroll-Scott.
Making a website was important because it allows for publicly accessible and up-to-the-minute updates on not just the violence numbers, but also information regarding the surrounding community and its residents. NUAVNow also includes a map-driven directory of violence prevention resources, including things like behavioral health programs and youth development services, that could help address violence. All of this can be updated continuously.
“In stakeholder meetings, they told us the last thing they needed was another resource directory that was outdated as soon as it was PDF-ed,” said Dr. Carroll-Scott. “We needed to create a website, and a sustainability plan that includes a manual for Congreso staff to run and update it.”