Community Currency Training
Building Healthy Communities
May 15, 2017
Through its Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, NYSHealth is supporting six communities across the State in their efforts to increase residents’ access to nutritious food, opportunities for physical activity, and other initiatives that encourage healthy living.
Healthy Neighborhoods Fund grantees and their partners have sought ways to increase community engagement so they can equip residents with the tools they need to advocate for healthy, affordable food and safer parks and public spaces in which to be physically active. Community engagement not only helps shape a neighborhood’s future, but also ensures that improvements are sustainable. To advance community engagement efforts, NYSHealth is allocating up to $50,000 to each Healthy Neighborhoods Fund site toward additional training, capacity building, and other activities that lead to deep engagement with neighborhood residents. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative (the Collaborative) a grant as part of this effort.
Under this grant, the Collaborative launched the Niagara Falls Community Currency initiative, a time-banking system for residents. Time banking is an intervention that creates opportunities for members to exchange services in lieu of monetary payment. For every hour a member contributes toward meeting the needs of another member, that person earns a redeemable hour to use for receiving services. The Community Currency time bank focused on activities to address social determinants of health related to food access, transportation, job preparation/local employment, and healthy housing. Specifically, the Collaborative recruited a core resident leadership team of adults and youth to co-design, implement, and establish a management process for the Community Currency pilot in the North End neighborhood. The leadership team also created a plan to expand the pilot to all residents in Niagara Falls and developed an evaluation plan to measure success.