Boston, Chelsea named Champion Cities in Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge

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Boston and Chelsea are among 35 cities from across the nation named Champion Cities in the 2018 Mayors Challenge, a competition sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The program, which promotes innovative approaches to improving communities, provides up to $100,000 in funding for the 35 cities to test and refine their ideas during a six-month trial period that is now underway. Teams from each city also participated in an intensive “Ideas Camp” workshop in New York City in March, where cities helped each other improve their ideas.
Boston’s idea is “Bringing Equity to Street Repairs.” The city’s Mayors Challenge application noted that because some of Boston’s neighborhoods use the 311 Constituent Services program up to twice as often as others do, repairing sidewalks based solely on 311 complaints would lead to inequities in city services and contribute to uneven outcomes in health, safety and neighborhood vitality.
Boston plans to make street and sidewalk repairs more equitable by augmenting 311 dispatch requests with data on community need, pavement condition and usage.
Chelsea’s idea, “Reducing Crime with Preventative Care,” looks to expand its successful “Hub” crime prevention strategy. Chelsea’s Hub program convenes weekly meetings of a team of community and government agencies to identify individuals or families facing elevated levels of risk for crime. The team then creates a customized plan for immediate intervention and services.
Chelsea’s application notes that its violent crime rate, the third highest in the state, directly affects 6,000 residents each year and is driven largely by gangs and drug-related crimes. Chelsea was the first city in the country to adopt the Hub model.
After the six-month testing phase, each Mayors Challenge city will submit a more detailed application focused on implementation, timelines, partners and more. The grand prize winner will receive $5 million, and four additional cities will win $1 million each.
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