We have had two area's designated as NRI neighborhoods. We have built, rehabbed and completed several ABWK projects in these places. They are also neighborhoods in which we have worked in for many years.
Since we have made an effort to target these 2 neighborhoods, we have been able to build and strengthen partnerships with variety of community groups. Yet, after serving many families, completing housing assessments in the neighborhood and doing several outreach activities, we are reviewing how we move forward.
Community Development is a major commitment. NRI must include all community stakeholders that see the importance of a comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization.
And while we feel Habitat can be a valuable partner in an overall community strategy to revitalize neighborhoods, it is just one strategy in our overall effort to provide decent and affordable housing to a much broader constituency.
We provide a continuum of housing solutions in a variety of communities that are in our service area and where there is community support (homeowners in need, funding/sponsors, volunteers and other partners).
However, our primary focus has always been on the families we serve and telling their story. It is what has made our ABWK program very successful. NRI, Veterans Initiative, health and safety emphasis are just some of the ways in which we provide services in an overall strategy.
I know that in certain communities NRI can be a central focus that provides a lot of community energy and support. However, I would caution not to let it be the only driving force in serving families. A careful assessment of the resources required to take on NRI must be weighed with the actual outcomes from a highly targeted effort.
If all the pieces can come together to create a successful, targeted approach, then NRI can be an effective strategy. However, we need to remember that NRI is a targeted strategy to serve communities. It is not the actual service we provide to partner with families.
NRI should be an outgrowth of our services to families that will give them broader support to live successful lives.