Vision 4 Goal


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Since 2015, the City has supported the resiliency and preparedness planning of community and faith-based organizations and small businesses across the five boroughs. These community anchors make up a social infrastructure that helps New Yorkers to prepare for and recover from extreme weather events. In 2017, the City focused on understanding volunteer and civic engagement trends in NYC, addressing risks from heat waves and rising temperatures, and providing small businesses with trainings, technical assessments, and preparedness grants to enhance their resiliency.


IndicatorIncrease the capacity of accessible emergency shelters to 120,000Increase the rate of volunteerism among New Yorkers to 25 percent by 2020
Latest Data38,000
Data Not Available
Previous Data10,000

Launched Cool Neighborhoods NYC—a $106 million initiative to keep New Yorkers safe during extreme heat


Every year, summer heat causes heat illness and heat stroke for thousands of New Yorkers—conditions which disproportionately impact older adults and at-risk populations and claim more lives than any other extreme weather event. In response, the City launched Cool Neighborhoods NYC in June 2017 to help keep New Yorkers safe during extreme heat and to protect communities from rising temperatures due to climate change. The program builds on existing efforts like NYC CoolRoofs, adds new initiatives like Be a Buddy NYC and training for home health aides, and focuses on the neighborhoods and populations most impacted by summer heat.

Conducted study to better understand and support neighborhood volunteering


Volunteer activity and civic engagement are critical to helping New York City neighborhoods thrive. Volunteers gain skills and confidence through service, meet others who care about causes central to their neighborhood lives, and join networks identifying with a community or a cause. However, our city has consistently shown lower rates of volunteerism than other parts of the country when measured by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey—Volunteer Use Supplement.

To better understand the characteristics, strengths, and limits of New Yorkers’ volunteer activity, NYC Service and the Mayor’s Community Affairs and Public Engagement Units launched the NYCivic Engagement study in 2017. After conducting focus groups and a door-to-door survey in Western Queens, researchers found a volunteer rate of 48 percent in those communities—more than triple the reported rate from the U.S. Census (17 percent). The researchers also found that:

  • Respondents were engaged primarily in neighborhood volunteering through houses of worship, their children’s schools, or local organizations that focus on community-specific issues
  • Volunteering for religious organizations is the dominant way residents participate in civic life, and is especially significant for Black and Hispanic residents
  • High rates of volunteerism were consistent for New Yorkers across nativity status, income, and educational attainment

Based on these findings, NYC Service is testing new neighborhood-focused plans in five communities, aiming to build local capacity to recruit and manage volunteers and increase the visibility of volunteer opportunities for residents. Pilots will launch in Melrose, Bronx; Bushwick, Brooklyn; Harlem, Manhattan; Jackson Heights/Sunnyside/Woodside, Queens; and Port Richmond, Staten Island. Pilot results will inform potential expansion to other New York City neighborhoods. Learn more at

Investing over $37 million to strengthen the resiliency of small businesses


NYC Economic Development Corporation’s $30 million RISE: NYC program is assisting hundreds of small businesses to mitigate the impacts of climate change with innovative telecom, energy, and building systems technologies. In 2017, the City completed the program’s first installation of resiliency technology at Hurricane Sandy-impacted small businesses on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, paving the way for future investments, including clean on-site energy production and storage systems that reduce demand on the grid and provide back-up power during outages. To learn more, visit:

Through the Business Preparedness and Resiliency Program, the Department of Small Business Services has provided risk assessments and grants to more than 160 local businesses spanning the retail, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors to better prepare their staff and operations for emergencies, and to protect their assets and investments. BusinessPREP will ultimately serve 520 Sandy-impacted businesses.

The two programs are serving small businesses in high flood-risk neighborhoods that provide local residents with vital goods, services, and employment opportunities. To learn more, visit: