InterIm CDA and a group of health and community organizations released the 2020 Healthy Community Action Plan on Sept. 21 — to address the housing, public health, social services, and economic development challenges of Seattle’s Chinatown International District (ID).
Residents reported experiencing chronic stress, feeling threatened by violence and crime, social isolation, and sedentary lifestyles as a result of the poor social and environmental conditions in the neighborhood.
The report found that the ID has the least amount of open and green space per person compared to any other neighborhood in the city. Poor air quality contributes to more asthma, respiratory, and cardiac-related hospital visits per capita than 99 percent of other Puget Sound neighborhoods.
“This historic neighborhood is home to a community of immigrants, seniors, and young children who face a unique set of barriers to health, social, and economic success,” said InterIm CDA Executive Director Pradeepta Upadhyay. “Seattle is experiencing an enormous economic boom right now, so it’s important to make sure that ID community members don’t get left behind.”
The report details startling but long-brewing health disparities between the ID and other neighborhoods in Seattle and King County:
- The life expectancy of ID residents is seven years shorter than the longest life expectancy in King County;
- Diabetes is the leading cause of death in the ID. People living in the ID have some of the highest prevalence of smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and no physical activity;
- More people report having symptoms of poor mental health in the ID than elsewhere in King County.
“The data are clear, more needs to be done to address the health disparities that are impacting this wonderful community,” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We have a tremendous opportunity to build upon our collaborations with parks, housing agencies, city planners, and community organizations to implement new solutions to help solve the public health crisis facing the ID.”
InterIm CDA identified nine strategies to achieve the Healthy Community Action Plan’s vision for a healthy, safe, and livable community. They include:
- Building health and financial literacy among affordable housing residents to ensure that residents are given opportunities to be healthy and financially empowered;
- Advocating for safer and cleaner public spaces and more accessible, culturally-relevant physical and social activities and resources;
- Working with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to gather more data on near-road air toxics with the goal of reducing exposure to near-road air pollution.
Swedish Medical Center has already committed $120,000 of grant funding to execute some of these strategies.
The 2020 Healthy Community Action Plan is the result of a year-long collaboration with Swedish Medical Center, Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area, International Community Health Services, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, and the Yesler Community Collaborative.
You can read the full 2020 Healthy Community Action Plan at bit.ly/healthyCID.