Fighting Poverty with Passion
I am now in my almost third month of being an AmeriCorps VISTA and feeling very assimilated into the office and neighborhood culture here in the Broadmoor Neighborhood. For those who have not read my first blog, I am now working as a Community Organizer at the Broadmoor Improvement Association. We are a community development organization that works to provide various resources to the neighborhood residents with a focus on improvement and development.
Working here, there has never been a dull day and if I said I didn’t get stressed at least once during the day I’d be lying to you. However, this stress is a good type as I am learning SO MUCH here. My knowledge surrounding housing, code enforcement, neighborhood associations, development strategies and things I’ve never even heard of is increasing immensely. One of the perks of my position is that I am constantly on the move, meeting community members, and fighting blight. A large project that I am working on during my year of service is developing sustainable solutions to eradicate blight in the neighborhood. For those of you who are not familiar with the term blight please see a picture of a blighted property below, with a description!
Thankfully our problem with blight, since Katrina devastated the neighborhood infastructure ten years ago, has decreased but nonetheless remains a problem today. Often times the process to demolish or rebuild these houses since Katrina has become increasingly more difficult as we get further from those rebuilding days and the funds for redevelopment are shrinking. With this obstacle in our way, one of the temporary solutions we have developed is to beautify blighted properties in an attempt to discourage crime, squatting and rat infestations from taking over. Our process is not entirely sustainable yet but my goal by the end of the year is to come up with viable solutions and groups of volunteers that will help while we wait for further development.
The volunteers worked hard all day hacking away at weeds, cutting down overgrown trees, and picking up trash on the property.With their efforts we were able to make a small but noticeable dent in the neighborhood according to Delachaise. Through volunteer groups we are able to make a difference in improving Broadmoor and without them this wouldn’t be possible. The work may be hard, and there may be a long road ahead in terms of development, but there is improvement being made. We hope to repeat this project at other properties and work to decrease blight one property at a time.