Using the assets of the community to bring in outside financial capital and begin to redevelop in a way meaningful to the residents to combat the foreclosure and housing crisis.
Strengthen the partnership between residents, the city and other stakeholders to build upon its new leadership to encourage the physical and social transformation of the neighborhood.
The Neighborhood Developers (TND), a community development organization overseen by residents as the catalysts for rebuilding of the entire Shurtleff-Bellingham neighborhood and the bringing of social and financial capital to its residents. Assist residents with needs they identified through various civic engagement strategies.
Civic Engagement Strategies
TND utilized NeighborCircles as a strategy to build community and increase civic engagement. Those NeighborCircles have and continue to successfully engage very diverse neighbors and have served to bridge cultural and language divides in a neighborhood which is 2/3 minority. When the recession and the related home foreclosure crisis hit the neighborhood, TND heard from residents organized through NeighborCircles that foreclosed and vacant properties were destabilizing their strained neighborhood even more. As the foreclosure rate climbed to 10% of the units in a four-block sub-neighborhood, known as North Bellingham Hill, fears were that the entire neighborhood would be overrun with the multitude of problems foreclosures bring upon properties and neighborhoods.
The North Bellingham Hill Action Plan was crafted emphasizing a bottom-up participatory methodology, dedicated to engaging low-income and minority residents in municipal and community decision-making on issues that matter to resident quality of life. Ideas and initiatives were generated by residents and community leaders at a series of four participatory charrettes, conducted in multiple languages, which provided an engaging process for residents to share their opinions and to hear the concerns of others. Those concerns about vacant buildings harboring illegal activities soon turned into a community-wide discussion about household financial stability, parking, safety, trash, speeding cars and the need for open space.
In total, 100+ diverse stakeholders representing residents, CBOs, TND, the City (including the city manager and a majority of the City Council), and the Police Department (including the police chief) participated in jointly forging the North Bellingham Hill Action Plan. The final plan was a community compact with action items that each partner committed to implement.
The TND-initiated North Bellingham Hill Action Plan in 2009 secured resources which led to improvements of the streets, sewer and water, lighting and trees, a neighborhood park, traffic calming, cleaner streets, recycling, housing quality and civic engagement in North Bellingham Hill. It also had a spill-over impact in the adjacent sub-neighborhood, fostering two programs (CET & CONNECT). CET has organized and implemented the community cleanliness campaign which included community organizing, community education and outreach, and local advocacy to change trash and recycling procedures and outcomes in Chelsea. Six community organizations co-located to form CONNECT, a financial opportunity center to provide services for neighborhood residents to increase their financial stability and economic security. Results are high for participants when financial coaching plus two other services is accessed, 76 percent see increases in at least one key financial milestone.
The results were many and included:
Local Contact: http://theneighborhooddevelopers.org/