IMPLEMENT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS & ENGAGEMENT | Case Study
A reinvestment and community building program in Houston provides an example for the City in how to enact a shared leadership model that encourages a range of community participation formats and allows residents to become leaders and laborers in their neighborhood’s reinvestment. This model outlines the magnitude of active participation that will be necessary and where residents, community organizations, and local non-profits will need to take on initiatives together in identified candidate neighborhoods. Greensboro can look to this example as it establishes its own recurring neighborhood reinvestment meetings.
GO Neighborhoods Program | Northside, Houston, TX
Partners: Avenue CDC (Avenue), Houston Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
Context: Northside is a historically disinvested, predominantly Latinx neighborhood in Houston. Despite its existing blight and challenges with quality housing, the area’s proximity to downtown creates the need for anti-gentrification work. Approach: In 2009, Avenue helped bring GO Neighborhoods, Houston LISC’s multiyear revitalization program, to Northside. Its goals were to conduct an exhaustive community building program that would provide affordable housing and homebuyer education for low- and moderate-income families, allowing them to remain in place. Avenue relied on several community building strategies to meet their goal. In the planning phase, residents were encouraged to design a GO Neighborhoods program where they could bring individual and collective talents to their neighborhood. This led to the formation of initiatives such as “Rebuilding Northside Together,” a home repair program for very low-income senior, veteran, and disabled homeowners. The initiative is staffed by community volunteers and operated in partnership with Rebuilding Together Houston. Avenue incorporated its shared leadership model into recurring community meetings, by allowing equal standing among participations, rotating meeting leadership among various members, and sharing project responsibilities among neighborhood partners. Avenue required that any proposed community action gain unanimous consent, instead of just a majority rule. This required proponents of an initiative to provide the information, compromises, and patience necessary to build consensus among their group, instead of requiring the minority opinions to go along with the majority. As GO Neighborhoods continues its work in Northside, Avenue has prioritized the development of diverse leadership, by facilitating “train -the- trainers” events and allowing other non-profits to be conveners for GO events.