What is Neighborhood Revitalization?
Neighborhood Revitalization is a partnership with a targeted community to address a variety of social determinants of health to help stabilize communities and bring sustainable practices to residents. Neighborhood Revitalization takes a holistic approach in helping a community address a variety of issues affecting their neighborhoods. We partner with residents, other nonprofits, community associations and municipalities to understand and address major needs identified by residents.
Central City South: A Community in Need
We are currently working in four targeted neighborhoods that are part of the Central City South Community located just south of Downtown Phoenix, between Grant St to the river bed South of the I17 and from the 51 freeway and the I17 freeway. This community is a long-established community with many multi-generational families still living in the homes their parents and grandparents lived in. Residents of the community have referred to this community as the “the neighborhood that time forgot”. The residents of the community witnessed the transformative development, investment and added infrastructure to Downtown Phoenix making it the destination it is today and watched it stop just a few blocks north of their community. The average income for a family in these neighborhoods is less than $20K per year, the entire community falls below the poverty line.
How We Partner with a Community
Habitat for Humanity had adopted a very specific approach to partnering with a community that begins with extensive research of the community. This includes reviewing census tracks to verify income limits, populations, demographics and percentage of homeowners in the targeted neighborhood. We then conduct a windshield survey with our construction team to do a mapping of the visual needs. This includes making notes of the empty lots, homes that would benefit from a total reconstruct and obvious needs for repairs like roofs, windows, facia and paint. Once we have that information we calculate the total cost for all repairs in the community. We then we start our community outreach to begin building relationships the residents, leadership, community organizations and local nonprofits to understand the needs of the community prior to offering services.
What Makes a Healthy Community?
When we think of a healthy community we all have specific images and ideas that come to mind. There are several contributing factors the make up a healthy community and in order for a person or family to be successful and resilient they need a safe and secure place to live. In our opinion, a healthy, safe and affordable home is the foundation for success. Along with a safe home there is a need for a secure community that provides the basic needs for its residents. Those needs include access to healthy and affordable food, educational and financial opportunities, access to reliable transportation and healthcare, and parks to interact socially and participate in healthy activity, just to name a few.
Community Interaction Quality of Life
Through our interaction with residents and local nonprofits we found well-organized groups of established and active neighborhood associations. They have visions of what they would like to see of their community that culminated in the development of their own Quality of Life Plan outlining and defining the needs of the residents and ways they can be address. This includes plans to improve infrastructure like repairing streets, getting sidewalks, adding and replacing street lights and addressing the city owned lots. They also address the need for increasing social cohesion but creating more community assessable areas and hosting more events. Habitat was invited to lend our expertise in housing to give suggestions for the empty lots and major need for home repairs. We refer to the Quality of Life Plan often when developing new projects to ensure we are addressing and contributing to the needs of the community.