WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the City of Youngstown was selected to participate in the new “Invest Health” initiative, a collaborative program launched by Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Invest Health targets mid-sized cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 to help develop new strategies to improve health outcomes, remove barriers to care, and leverage private-public investments in health. Mid-size American cities face some of the nation’s deepest challenges with entrenched poverty, poor health, and a lack of investment.
“Invest Health will help Youngstown develop new strategies to improve public health outcomes in our state while building relationships with similar communities across the country to learn best practices for attracting investment and improving our neighborhoods,” said Brown. “This award and designation will go a long way in building stronger, healthier communities in northeast Ohio.”
As one of the 50 Invest Health cities chosen from more than 180 applicants, Youngstown will receive a $60,000 grant to help improve opportunities for residents to live healthy lives by addressing factors that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, and quality jobs. Akron and Canton were also selected to participate.
Over the next 18 months, leaders from Youngstown will join other Invest Health teams in sharing best practices and receiving technical assistance from expert advisors and coaches, along with engaging with other local stakeholders to encourage knowledge sharing.
Youngstown’s Invest Health team will foster healthy neighborhoods by addressing disparities in health outcomes linked to poor quality housing and infrastructure. The Invest Health team will work to reduce the number of occupied homes in serious disrepair with lead hazard issues; reduce the number abandoned properties littered with trash, debris and criminal activity; improve the safety and condition of sidewalks and streetscapes connecting residents to neighborhood assets; and enhance the condition of infrastructure in city parks and other public spaces.