We have big dreams for our small but vitally important neighborhood. While many communities are trying to figure out how to adapt the delivery of health care to the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, our Vita Health & Wellness District is already well on its way to becoming a reality.
To summarize the hard work that has already been done in Stamford’s West Side to improve the health of the neighborhood and its residents:
In 2010 the one-mile district along the Stillwater Avenue commercial corridor was designated the “Vita Health & Wellness District”, with the goal of improving the health of our neighborhood. We intend to impact health disparities by directly addressing the social determinants of health. (The World Health Organization defines “social determinants of health” as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.”)
Vita is a priority focus for Stamford Hospital, which has championed our efforts from the start. Initially focused on residents of the West Side, Vita may become a model for the delivery of services throughout the city and beyond.
At Fairgate Farm, we are celebrating the start of our fourth growing season. Where blighted housing once stood we now have an immensely popular urban farm, powered by volunteer workers and delivering farm-to-table produce for Scofield Manor residential care home, the New Covenant House community kitchen and other community agencies throughout Stamford. In our organic fields and fully hydroponic greenhouse, we produce thousands of pounds of fresh, volunteer-grown fruits and vegetables annually!
The Greenfield housing community will welcome residents this fall. This is the newest healthy community built by Charter Oak Communities, Stamford’s public housing authority. Located adjacent to Stamford Hospital, Greenfield is an attractive, environmentally responsible and socio-economically sustainable mixed-income community that offers affordable housing for the area’s working families.
Vita continues to attract national attention and funding: In 2011 Stamford received a Sustainable Communities Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to underwrite the Vita strategic plan; and in 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected Vita for the Building Blocks Equitable Development technical assistance program.
Formerly disenfranchised residents and business owners now gather enthusiastically for the frequent West Side NRZ (Neighborhood Revitalization Zone) meetings, fully committed to the success of the revitalization vision that the community wants, and needs.
Having obtained the Village Commercial District zoning designation for the Stillwater Avenue corridor, Vita is now attracting an array of consumer-based health facilities and services, providing a basis for economic growth and sustainability.