BOARD OF YOUNG ADULT POLICE COMMISSIONERS
Growing up in New Haven during the height of the Crack Cocaine Epidemic, I witnessed far too many victims of gun violence. As a result I was inspired to join the Board of Young Adult Police Commissioners (BYAPC) in the early nineties. The BYAPC helped identify solutions to high rates of crime and violence and built stronger relationships between local police and city residents, particularly youth and young adults. Unfortunately rates of gun violence are still too high in New Haven today and there is a national trend towards greater division between citizens and law enforcement. We should reinstate the BYAPC to help reverse these negative trends and to involve the city’s youth in community problem-solving.
CITYWIDE BLOCK WATCHES
We will institute citywide volunteer, community block watches in partnership with the New Haven Police Department. While some neighborhoods currently have block watches, all communities will benefit from having concerned residents invest in crime prevention. We will offer an online toolkit to help neighborhoods start and maintain block watches.
CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD AND BOARD OF POLICE
By increasing public voice we will increase public confidence in law enforcement. We support citizens’ participation in oversight of law enforcement through a strengthened Civilian Review Board.
However we believe that the best way to ensure accountability is to advocate for a hybrid Board of Police Commissioners that includes both elected and mayorally- appointed commissioners and has legal oversight of the police department.
Across the country and in New Haven community policing has proven to be an effective strategy. We will strengthen the practice of community-based policing by expanding partnerships with neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, local businesses, social service providers and schools.
We have to honestly reflect the public safety challenges in our communities in order to solve them. Mayor Harp has misrepresented crime statistics for political purposes. Gun violence has increased during the Harp Administration. Mayor Harp assumed office on January 1, 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of non-fatal shootings rose every year; between 2015-16, the number of shots fired in the city rose by 52.4%.
Although the number of gun-related homicides remained flat between 2014-2016, New Haven is not safer because more victims have survived potentially fatal shootings in recent years. Nonfatal shootings have lifelong consequences for victims and their families and a pervasive negative impact on the communities in which they occur. We must acknowledge this reality then implement new strategies to reduce gun violence.
NONVIOLENT CRIME AND NUISANCE
High rates of nonviolent crime in communities negatively impact quality of life and make our city less livable.
In the police department’s essential effort to reduce violent crime, it should not neglect to address nonviolent crime and nuisances such as car break-ins, vandalism, speeding and noise disturbances. Home burglaries have been on the rise in a number of New Haven's neighborhoods like East Rock. As mayor I will prioritize reduction of both violent and nonviolent crime.
POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM REPORT
The City of New Haven spent $130,000 to identify specific strategies to improve police department operations. Yet many of those strategies still have not been implemented. We will increase the capacity and effectiveness of the New Haven Police Department by fully implementing relevant, outstanding recommendations from the 2007 PERF report.
We will more efficiently deliver services and reduce costs by better aligning related programs and initiatives. We will improve coordination between the city’s Second Chance Re-Entry Program, Project Longevity and the Department of Corrections’ work in New Haven. We will improve coordination between fires services, emergency management and public safety communications.
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
We will increase public safety employees’ engagement with the community by expanding and up funding the Police Athletic League and Fire Public Safety Academy. Every city firefighter and police officer will be encouraged to mentor a New Haven Public Schools student.
PUBLIC SAFETY RESIDENCY PROGRAM
When public safety professionals live in New Haven they have more opportunities to forge connections with residents; these connections create safer communities. We will partner with local banks and real estate businesses to develop homebuyer and rental discount programs to increase New Haven residency among public safety employees.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Artists tell stories of people and communities. They help broaden individual experience and understanding, making neighbors more connected and supportive.
As mayor I will strongly advocate for New Haven’s expansive arts community. City funding for the arts will be used to promote equity, diversity and accessibility to all. Arts, culture, design and creative placemaking will be linked to New Haven’s economic development goals.
CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
New Haven’s senior citizen community is an asset. We must do more to ensure that our elderly residents have affordable housing and access to food, transportation, health and banking services. We must also ensure that the buildings that house large senior citizen communities are well maintained.
As mayor I will undertake a comprehensive review of all of the city’s elderly services to assess if we are effectively meeting the needs of that important community; being responsive to individual concerns; and creating sufficient opportunities for seniors to share their knowledge and energy.
New Haven has more than 350 nonprofits doing great work in city neighborhoods. City Hall should empower rather than compete with these organizations. We will strengthen the financial and operational capacity of local nonprofits and community organizations by restoring the City of New Haven Nonprofit Funding Newsletter; providing technical assistance to nonprofit leaders; and lowering barriers for nonprofits to work with the city.
ERADICATION OF HOMELESSNESS
A city reveals its priorities by its actions. New Haven County has the highest percentage of homeless families in the State of Connecticut. A point-in-time estimate in 2014 revealed 566 homeless people in New Haven and more than 100 who were chronically homeless.
As mayor I will prioritize eradicating New Haven’s significant homelessness problem by demonstrating commitment and focus from my office:
New Haven Housing Trust Fund (NHHTF): We will establish a funding collaborative of philanthropists, major donors, investors, and city government officials. The New Haven Housing Trust Fund will assist local housing and supportive service organizations; shelter persons in need; provide transitional housing for those with obstacles to independent living; develop new affordable homes; repair existing homes; offer foreclosure prevention programs and rental assistance; and advance equitable neighborhood revitalization. The NHHTF will proactively seek input from individuals experiencing homelessness on all funding initiatives.
Inclusionary Zoning and Tax Incentives: Inclusionary zoning and tax incentives will enable development of affordable, eco-friendly tiny house/micro apartment communities that are cheaper to build and maintain than standard-size dwellings.
Good Landlord Program: We will establish a Good Landlord Program to remove key obstacles to obtaining and retaining housing. We will work with the Board of Alders to conduct a thorough review of the City’s Housing Code Ordinance, proposing revisions where needed and strengthening enforcement mechanisms.
"LIVESTRONG" NEW HAVEN
Community health is a key measure of quality of life in a city. According to the Greater New Haven Community Index (2013) New Haveners have higher prevalence of heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and HIV than Connecticut residents as a whole. We will launch a citywide campaign to promote health education, preventative screenings and medical management of chronic illnesses. Programming will include health literacy trainings; small group health talks; “Ask the Doctor” meetings; and nutrition, weight management and senior citizen health workshops. We will partner with faith organizations, community schools and nonprofits on program rollout and execution.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
Many of the social problems in our communities (chronic illness, disease, poverty, crime) have roots in mental health challenges. Yet mental health is an issue many are reticent to discuss openly and publicly. To bring greater awareness to mental health conditions; reduce stigma associated with mental health issues; and encourage engagement in positive practices to strengthen mental resiliency, City Hall will launch a Mental Health Awareness Month. We will partner with local and national mental health advocates. Programming will promote wellness and highlight mental health resources available to New Haven’s residents.
VOLUNTEER NEW HAVEN INITIATIVE
The vibrancy of a city is directly correlated with the level of community engagement. We will take the following proactive measures to increase resident engagement in city life:
Volunteer Center of New Haven: Virtual center to promote volunteerism, connect people, support non-profits and build partnerships. Website will feature volunteer and donation opportunities in the community and on city projects
New Haven Green Team: On-call volunteers who assist neighborhood groups, nonprofits and City Hall with special programs focused on conservation and preservation of natural resources, e.g. clean sweeps, community gardens, neighborhood cleanups, urban farms
New Haven Volunteer Corps: Corps of volunteers who commit to 300 service hours per year in the city – focus on youth, retirees and senior citizens
TRANSFORMING SCHOOLS INTO COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Community schools serve the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of students and families; they improve neighborhood quality and anchor economic development. We will transform schools into community spaces, or cross-generational learning and activity centers. Community schools will feature wraparound and social service programs related to workforce development and financial literacy; health and wellness; arts and culture; and sports and recreation. Programming will occur during evenings, weekends and summer months and be fueled by the city’s robust nonprofit and higher education sectors.