The Harlem Community Justice Center is a neighborhood-based community court committed to bridging the gap between the court and community to achieve fairness and systematic equity in housing, community health, and access to justice.
The Justice Center's programs and services include:
Housing Help Center
In 2019, the Help Center served over 2,000 residents, helping many avoid eviction. Our staff assist some of Harlem’s most vulnerable residents in private and public housing who need help navigating the courts and public housing system. The Help Center provides information, workshops in partnership with legal service providers, and referrals for legal and financial assistance to residents with cases in Housing Court or who reside in the Harlem community. This work has greatly improved the perception of fairness experienced by those in Harlem’s housing court, nearly nine out of 10 Help Center participants report improved perceptions of fairness.
Youth and Community Programming
Youth Impact offers a non-punitive alternative for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 who are at risk of becoming or are currently justice system involved and may be under some form of supervision. This intervention is facilitated by our Harlem Youth Impact members who are young people trained to facilitate restorative justice circles, many of whom are formerly justice-involved themselves. The restorative approach is non-punitive, focuses on repairing harm, and allows youth to understand how their actions may have affected themselves, their families, and community. In 2019, over 60 young people were diverted to Harlem Youth Impact and successfully completed the program.
Men’s Empowerment Program
The Men’s Empowerment program offers culturally relevant and trauma-informed programming to young Black and Brown men ages 17 to 25 in East and Central Harlem. Our work focuses on helping address and break the cycle of trauma and violence in their lives and communities. Young men of color are encouraged to learn skills to better manage their emotions and move on from past histories of violence and trauma. The program focuses on healing and creating a cultural shift in thinking regarding how they see themselves and how they can be a resource to their community. Our trauma-informed approach encourages young men of color to challenge cultural and societal norms related to mental health and masculinity and begin to identify life goals for themselves that are not hindered by their lived experiences of trauma. Participants earn stipends and rewards for participating in community service projects and a range of workshops and activities designed to prepare them for employment, vocational training or higher education opportunities. Since 2017, the Men’s Empowerment Program has served over 150 young men in the Harlem community.
The Justice Center is a partner in the New York City Health Justice Network, which serves people returning to the community from incarceration. Our community health worker helps participants overcome barriers to community reintegration by helping them navigate the healthcare system and connecting them to community-based, trauma-informed health and mental health care.