A hands-on service provider for a community in need.
For almost 60 years, the United Community Centers (UCC) has been a front-line service provider and organizer in East New York, one of Brooklyn’s most hard-pressed low income communities. UCC was founded in 1954, and incorporated in 1959, by tenants, mostly women, in two New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, who were looking for integrated, quality educational and social programs for their children. UCC was the first tenant-run community center in a NYCHA building. What began as a small organization in a housing project has evolved over the last 60 years into a multi-service center that has continually responded to the needs of and changes in the community.
Since in its creation, UCC has been organizing residents and families to get involved in community, city, state, and nation-wide issues, fought successfully for the creation of publicly funded day care centers in the community, and operated Camp Hurley for low-income at risk youth. When the New Lots branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was threatened with closing because of violence, UCC organized marches and rallies to save it. Local livery cab drivers were on strike against excessive charges by the taxi base owners, UCC helped them form their own cooperative. We then recruited the drivers to distribute condoms from their cabs in our effort to curtail the spread of the HIV virus in East New York and adjacent neighborhoods. We lead the fight for the creation of a farmer’s market and youth involvement in community agriculture. We organize youth and adults to Washington to fight for gun control and to Albany to oppose budget cuts in public education and health services.