What We Do

Barriers to health for low-income New Yorkers

New York City and Long Island’s low-income communities of color struggle with a variety of health problems, including very high rates of diabetes and asthma, and lack of access to healthcare and health insurance.

To reverse these trends, Make the Road New York works to guarantee equal rights, access, and improved healthcare for the 2.5 million New Yorkers with limited English proficiency. We provide one-on-one assistance with health insurance and food stamp enrollment, hospital bill negotiation, health system navigation, nutrition education and emergency food services, Community Health Worker training and services, and HIV testing referrals.

The result? Immigrant communities are on track to better health.

Building Healthy Communities
How We’re Helping

Each year, we enroll 3,500 people in health insurance, and help over 500 individuals navigate the health system including fighting unlawful refusals by insurers to cover treatment, and negotiating the elimination or reduction of debilitating hospital bills. Community members register for free wellness programs at MRNY centers, including group fitness, nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations, and learn nutrition and healthy cooking from our community garden, while our pantries reach over 5,000 people every month.

We offer one of the few bilingual health and safety trainings in New York for workers in a variety of industries, from cleaning to construction. Our Community Health Worker Training program prepares students with the skills needed to become CHWs in NYC, and connects students with internship opportunities as well as health job placement assistance. CHWs conduct home visits for children with asthma, which disproportionately affects our communities, providing instruction to parents for managing the condition. 

Our peer-to-peer health promoters program leverages the leadership and social networks of our members in order to reach and educate a broad spectrum of community members, connecting them to our health access, healthy living, and legal support services. Through this innovative program, community members (or promotoras) work as peer counselors, helping 2,500 people annually sign up for food stamps and learn healthy behaviors. 


more people have food to eat
because of MRNY's food stamp enrollment program
Fast Facts
  • We have improved disease prevention, early detection, and nutrition for 20,000+ community members through direct benefits and health insurance enrollment, HIV testing, and health education.
  • Over 11,000 individuals have health insurance because we enrolled them under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Our Community Health Worker training program prepares community members for good jobs in the healthcare field.
  • Community Health Workers help 300 families improve their children’s health each year through home visits and culturally competent health counseling.
  • In 2016, 2,500 people stopped being hungry as a result of our food stamp enrollment program.
Blanca Palomeque, Member and Health Promotora

In the park, on the street, and in hospital waiting rooms, Blanca Palomeque counsels immigrants on their right to access health care and helps them sign up for food stamps. She refers families to our health insurance enrollment program, gives nutrition advice, and connects individuals to our Community Health Workers to improve their health.  

Originally from Ecuador, Blanca used to work as a housecleaner, using toxic chemicals. When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, MRNY helped her navigate the health insurance system. When she recovered, she was determined to help her community. “This is my mission: to help,” she says, reflecting on her work as a Health Promotora for MRNY.

Support our health access programs!

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