Cypress Hills is a Brooklyn neighborhood bounded by Jamaica Avenue, Shore Parkway, Van Sinderen Avenue, and Eldert Lane. Our community is diverse – 61% of residents are Latinx, and 42% are immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Jamaica. The housing stock consists primarily of 1-3 family homes and small apartment buildings, which helps to create a sense of community. The commercial strip is in the heart of the neighborhood and local residents can shop locally in small stores for most of their needs. There is even a local farmstand that hires Cypress Hills youth. Foods from Central, South America and the Caribbean may be enjoyed at local restaurants. The neighborhood is accessible by public transportation and has several public schools so children may walk to school.
The neighborhood faces significant economic challenges, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cypress Hills consistently ranks high on indicators of inequality: health, life expectancy, housing quality, income, employment, and education. More than a quarter of households here live below the Federal Poverty Line, and it has a child poverty rate of 31.7%. The local public schools perform poorly on measures of student achievement and school crowding when compared to schools in more affluent New York City neighborhoods, and there is a shortage of early childhood seats even as the population of eligible children is expected to increase considerably over the next several years.
We are proud to live alongside and to serve these families. We have seen over the decades that a small leg up in the form of access to affordable early childcare or support to launch a childcare business can empower residents of Cypress Hills to overcome the challenges they face and build a sustainable future for themselves and for our community.