Every Child

Posted by Lauren
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By Liz Bowers, Director of Development and Communications

Every child deserves to live in a safe neighborhood. This is a reality that Habitat Montco is working toward every day through our Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) program, focusing on an eleven-block NR zone of Norristown and a six-block NR zone of Pottstown.

Sammy is three years old; he lives in the Norristown NR zone. He loves playing at the Cherry Street Park, especially going down the slide. Now that it is warmer, he keeps asking…”go outside now?” Fortunately, his mom and sometimes his aunt take him to the park. This park hadn’t always been so well taken care of, but Habitat Montco’s Neighborhood Revitalization program made it the focus of its work in Norristown. Now, after two years of improvements, both Sammy’s mom and his aunt feel that it is a safe playground and are happy to take this adorable boy to Cherry Street Park to play.

Habitat Montco started Neighborhood Revitalization in collaboration with community residents to improve their safety and quality of life. The goals of the program include empowering residents to reinvest in their own neighborhoods and inspiring local businesses, community groups, and government leaders to come together for the betterment of the community.

The services that Habitat Montco provides as part of the NR program include Home Rehabs, Critical Home Repairs, Rock the Block Community Cleanup Days, and Kids Club.

Home Rehabs are renovations of pre-existing properties in order to increase homeownership opportunities. This not only provides residents with the ability to own rather than rent, but also reduces neighborhood blight and decreases the number of vacant properties. So far, 29 home rehabs have been completed in Pottstown and Norristown.

Critical Home Repairs are performed to fix problems that jeopardize the safety, security, or accessibility of homeowners. This program ensures that people are not forced to abandon a home because they cannot afford to maintain it. The homeowners typically pay for a portion of these repairs on a sliding scale. Habitat Montco has completed 25 Critical Home Repairs in the NR Zones.   

The annual Rock the Block Community Clean-Up Days are an opportunity for community residents to work together on addressing neighborhood problems. The event also fosters friendships between neighborhood residents by providing a means for the neighbors to get to know one another. During Rock the Block, residents and other volunteers complete home repairs, paint, weed and mulch street trees, and clean up trash.

In 2015, Habitat Montco started a Kids Club to provide a safe space for children living within the Norristown NR Zone. The club meets weekly and includes physical playtime, a snack, and an educational topic such as conflict resolution, understanding differences, and trusting the police. Kids Club provides a safe space for children to learn and play, and gives their parents the opportunity to run errands knowing that their children are safe. Currently, 32 youth from Norristown participate in the club on a weekly basis.

One day, Sammy will be old enough to go to Kids Club, but until then he will keep playing at Cherry Street Park. Sammy deserves to live in a safe neighborhood.  Will you help provide safe neighborhoods through Habitat Montco’s NR program?