June 2019 Issue

From the Executive Director:
The Flood Waters Have Receded. We Need to Advance.

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHTS
YOUTH PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS

MOEC Updates Vision, Creates Stronger Impact on Student Success

THRIVING PLACES

Fundraising Course Connects and Inspires Nonprofit Leaders

ECONOMIC GROWTH & OPPORTUNITY

Uniting Communities Through Neighborhood Revitalization


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Uniting Communities Through Neighborhood Revitalization

Raising the Bar | Economic Growth & Opportunity | June 2019

In December of 2018, the foundation awarded a $200,000 capital grant to Habitat for Humanity of Omaha to support the Miller Park, Minne Lusa, and Belvedere Neighborhood Revitalization Project.

Habitat Omaha’s vision is for a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The organization provides families with a physical home to call their own, and through their Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) program, works to strengthen and lift the surrounding neighborhood, as well.

Habitat Omaha’s NR program is currently working within the communities of Miller Park, Minne Lusa, and Belvedere to deliver a full set of programs including: new home construction, critical home repairs and renovations, demolitions and neighborhood beautification projects. The organization also uses data collection and coalition building to help transform and strengthen these neighborhoods.

One aspect of the NR program that is integral yet difficult to measure is community building. The NR program fosters this in a variety of ways, starting with addressing the specific needs of a neighborhood. Corine Sawadogo recently stepped into a newly created position as the Neighborhood Revitalization Manager and works within the program’s focus communities.

Part of her role has been to get out in the community and listen. By working with neighborhood associations and community ambassadors she learns what work is needed and how Habitat Omaha can provide valuable support and resources. “I go in to talk with existing stakeholders and find out what their dreams are for the neighborhood,” says Sawadogo, “From there, we look at the area and help determine what needs the most help.”

Sawadago has seen progress since she started her work less than one year ago. “People stop me on the street to share their concerns,” she says, “the fact that they can identify me and feel comfortable telling me what they’d like to see means we’ve created a funnel for information to be shared.”

Naomi Hattaway, Habitat Omaha’s Program Director is proud of the organization’s ability to respond to the real needs of community residents. “We believe communities already have the power,” says Hattaway, “and we’re just providing the support to remind them they have that power.”

The recent grant from the foundation has helped Habitat Omaha to continue work toward their mission and vision. For instance, grant funding allows the organization to continue to host events such as Dumpster Days. These are community clean up days that incorporate elements of education, outreach, and neighborhood beautification. Residents can toss out unused furniture and also learn about home repair, homeowner loans, and more.

The organization addresses many home-related issues that go beyond new home ownership. One example is Habitat Omaha’s new Title program which addresses the issue of “cloudy titles” which cost thousands of dollars to clear up and can stand in the way of building generational wealth. Habitat Omaha sends qualified volunteers door‑to‑door to educate and inform residents about title laws. Partnering title companies then fund the work to search for and clear cloudy titles which puts legal home ownership back in the hands of the family members.

The Neighborhood Revitalization program is just one more step in helping neighborhood residents through education and support where it is most needed.

“Neighborhoods are living beings and always changing. We need to be nimble enough to adapt, and be a part of that moving organism.”

– Corine Sawadogo, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager at NR