We have been doing neighborhood revitalization from the very beginning of our ABWK program 13 years ago. We targeted two neighborhoods where we were building and rehabbing homes. We partnered with organizations that were already established and doing community development in those neighborhoods.
Those neighborhood partnerships were key to our early success. These ministries and organizations understood the needs of their neighborhood and gave us credibility with homeowners wary of groups that might exploit and take advantage of them.
Taking time to understand families, neighborhood groups and demographics has allowed us to create a program that is trusted to provide effective services that help families live in safe, healthy homes.
It is critical not to create program policy and parameters without first understanding those you serve. There are way too many programs in our communities that look good on paper but have little impact because they created a rigid structure that didn't reflect the real needs of the families they desired to serve.
Also, not all communities have well defined neighborhoods. Your targeted area may be a school district, housing or economic development, recreation area or even an entire county depending on housing density, percentage of homeownership, housing conditions and available partners.
So when you understand the challenges communities and their families face, when you are willing to walk alongside them and provide assistance that supports their independence and preserves homeownership, when you can build community relationships that creates mutual benefits for all, then you will be able to provide a sustainable and effective program that restores homes and revitalizes communities. abwk habitat for humanity
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