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Healthy Communities in the Making: Highlights from our 2018 Get Healthy SMC Awardees

Staff Perspective Belén Seara

Greetings, Get Healthy SMC Partners:

This year is just running by me, and I can’t believe it is already time to celebrate the progress made so far by our Get Healthy SMC 2018 awardees. Get Healthy SMC is a collaborative that relies on its partners to move forward policies that will prevent diseases and ensure everyone has equitable opportunities to live long and healthy lives. We know that not everyone in our County has the same opportunity to live a healthy life. Health outcomes vary based on race, geography, gender, and income and education levels. Get Healthy SMC focuses its efforts on those residents with higher percentages of preventable health issues and most in need of resources to improve their health outcomes. The partners highlighted below help us make strides in our community-identified priority areas: healthy neighborhoods, healthy housing, healthy economy, and healthy schools. Here are some of the highlights from our 2018 awardees half-way through their funding year:

Community Alliance with Family Farmers is on track to complete the Bid Generator by the end of the year. This is an innovative tool that will make it easier for San Mateo County schools and hospitals to procure locally grown food through legal bidding processes.

With the full support of the administration of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, Faith in Action (FIA) continues to increase the capacity of Daly City residents to make their communities healthier. FIA organized a group of parents in this priority school for Get Healthy SMC to start working on issues relevant to the school’s community. Parents prioritized immigration, housing, and traffic safety to work on when the school reconvenes in August.

Rebuilding Together Peninsula (RTP) continues to convene the City of East Palo Alto and other key stakeholders to identify how to best address habitability issues in unpermitted second units while protecting existing tenants. RTP submitted plans to the City to upgrade one of the four pilot garage conversions that will help inform policies to streamline and finance the rehabilitation of these second units.

Youth Leadership Institute continues to expand youth voices in transportation planning and investment decisions, and it will soon publish its Transportation Equity Movement Coalition (TEAMC) policy roadmap for how communities can advocate for and develop an equitable and affordable public transportation system. We are excited to learn more about how the roadmap can be a useful resource for San Mateo County!

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is helping us to include health, equity and safety priorities in traditional transportation planning processes. SVBC held a bike tour on Bike to Work Day, May 10, with 22 participants including four elected officials and two SamTrans staff, Facebook staff, and other community stakeholders to educate about the Dumbarton rail corridor options. The current bike routes in the area are disconnected, but improved routes could provide connections between homes, transit, workplaces, and other services making communities healthier.

The San Mateo County Office of Education and partners are convening a working group of school district leaders to guide the development of a behavior matrix based on restorative justice practices, an alternative to traditional punitive discipline approach, that will guide school district staff as to how best respond to student misbehavior.

Envision, Transform, Build East Palo Alto is on track to finish the Land Value Capture Toolkit for San Mateo County Cities that will provide local jurisdictions with policy mechanisms to maximize community benefits for their local communities from new commercial development.

As we celebrate the progress made by our 2018 awardees, we are gearing to release the 2019 Get Healthy SMC Community Implementation Funding RFP on August 7th. You can register here for our informational webinar scheduled for August 13 at 12pm. Building more inclusive and healthy communities takes all of us, and we are so grateful for the help we get from our Get Healthy SMC partners to achieve this vision. Let’s continue the great work!