Reconnecting People | Once a property has been restored, Urban Homeworks works to connect neighbor to neighbor to create a livable, robust community with a strong sense of home. The result is a rich exchange between households that reweaves a sense of community through day-to-day activities.
I came to find my back gate open and a stranger standing in my yard. After a quick round of, “What are you doing here?” my neighbor popped her head out her back door. The supposed stranger was an electrical lineman who jumped to the scene after my neighbor heard a loud popping noise from our yard while we weren’t home and called the electric company to check on it. Upon arrival, he found that a power line had burst and fell to the ground, leaving a dangerous obstacle course in its wake. #weneighbor
Jasmine Crooks spoke at our Perpetuate the Hope lunch a few weeks ago and asked her neighbor’s daughter to baby-sit her children while she prepared for the event. She has taken the time to get to know her neighbors and now, can trust them to be there for her and her children. #weneighbor
We have been spreading the “We Neighbor” narrative. Watching one another’s homes and children, bringing an apple pie to your new neighbor, and stepping outside for National Night Out are pieces of the neighborly puzzle. But to be truly effective, it has to go even further.
“We Neighbor” is about listening to statistics. For organizations like Urban Homeworks, it is asking who has voice, access to jobs, and access to homes. It is about responding to what the voices of our community are saying.
When our Director of Community Engagement heard about residents feeling a rift between law enforcement officials and themselves, she set up a listening session with local authorities to build a bridge for their relationships. When we needed the final cleaning completed on our newest home remodel, we went directly to Carl who is not only one of residents, but also a local subcontractor so that we could support his economic well-being. When families told us that they wanted to be close to jobs, transit, family members, and the community that they have grown up in, we decided to build PODs in North Minneapolis.
Building affordable and dignified housing only begins to scratch the surface of what community development is all about. We listen, we respond, we neighbor.