Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) is a community development effort that strives to enhance the quality of life for the entire neighborhood and everyone who lives there. Habitat for Humanity Newark (HFHN) is partnering with local communities to move beyond brick-and-mortar home construction to address broader neighborhood issues. Many neighborhoods in Newark face systemic problems that include, aging homes in need of critical repair, unchecked crime, lack of access to healthy food, and a lack of recreational amenities for children. HFHN works in collaborations with community stakeholders to take action and realize the neighborhood’s full potential and capabilities. Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives are meant to nurture ongoing civic engagement, find resident driven solutions in order to establish a sustainable, healthy community.
Initial assessment of community needs through meetings/surveys helped identify these top priorities:
- Need for critical repairs and healthy homes
- Addressing high crime rate and public safety
- Creating recreational and after-school programs for youth
- Improving access to service
- Job training and financial education
- College prep and youth empowerment
Habitat Newark’s NR efforts are focused in the West and Central Wards of Newark Newark in an area of 2.95 mile radius with the geographic boundaries shown in the map below. HFHN intends on measuring impact within this defined focus area with the aim of expanding efforts to other communities in and around Essex and Union Counties. The area is a 2.95 mile radius with the geographic boundaries shown in the map below.
The focus neighborhood has an estimated population of 3,043 people. Population demographic of the focus area in comparison to the State Average of New Jersey:
Newark – West and Central Wards NR Focus Area
- 75.9% Black/African American; 17.3% Hispanic/Latino ; 12.0% White; 7.0% Other
- Median household income $27,459 (New Jersey $72,062)
- 22.8% Unemployment Rate (New Jersey 9.7%)
- 38.1% Living Below Poverty Level
(New Jersey 10.7%)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 5-Year American Community Survey
Habitat for Humanity Newark (HFHN) has worked very hard along with volunteers and partner families to provide 75 homes in the focus area. Homeownership has numerous benefits, such as an improved sense of well-being, stability, and quality of life satisfaction. HFHN has used this base of goodwill and support to launch our NR initiative. We have engaged residents and stakeholders to address these concerns with positive feedback and willingness to take action in the community’s revitalization.
The plan is to mobilize NR social capital in focus neighborhood by harnessing and developing the assets of the community through:
- Partnering with community coalitions, resident leaders, local businesses, and institutions
- Participating in community project planning and implementation process
- Mobilize funding and resources for revitalization
- Support the long-term sustainability of NR efforts
- Evaluate the impact on neighborhood through surveys and aggregated data