written by Ryan Adams, AmeriCorps VISTA at Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida
Reflections from Let's Invest for Tomorrow held April 27, 2013
The first Let’s Invest for Tomorrow event at Charles Hadley Park sponsored by Wells Fargo was a stunning success. The weeks leading up to the event were hectic, but the hard work paid off. Marketing was carried out through social networking sites (Facebook and Twitter), local papers (The Miami Times, The Miami Herald, and the South Florida Times), and by making phone calls. The community building department at Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF) was very active. Various neighborhood association meetings and events were attended to create a buzz in the community. With the leadership of Neighborhood Housing Services and the Neighborhood Revitalization Collaborative, we made a difference in the community of Liberty City on April 27, 2013.
Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, The NeighborhoodRevitalization Collaborative and other nonprofit organizations were on hand from 11AM to 2PM offering their services and sharing information about programs that focused on housing. Participating organizations were as follows:
Wells Fargo, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, The Haitian American CDC, The Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity, The Liberty City Economic Development Corporation, St. John CDC, The Urban League of Greater Miami, 411 Veterans, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., and The Belafonte TACOLCY Center.
Approximately 190 residents attended the event and there was plenty of fun for everyone, including the kids. Children jumped around for hours in the bounce house and Home Depot conducted a kid’s workshop. Habitat for Humanity taught six residents how to construct pallet gardens. Now, Charles Hadley Park has pallet gardens.
A DJ played music throughout the event and collaborating organizations gave away prizes in a raffle. Pedi’s Pastries, Blessed Catering, and Louis Famous Foods provided great food. The phones at NHSSF are still ringing from residents who did not get a chance to make it to the event. Residents want the services that we provide and NHSSF is here to provide them.
Yesterday, a lady named Rosella Davis gave me a call. She explained that she could not attend the event this past Saturday, but needed assistance with home repairs. Her roof is getting ready to collapse. I explained that NHSSF does not offer home repairs. After discussion with Jackie Duran, the director of Home Ownership Promotion, she directed me to Mikal Hamin. He is a homeownership counselor at NHSSF. Through his research, we found a single family housing program with the City of Miami at the Department of Community and Economic Development. The program provides eligible residents with up to $35,000 for home rehabilitation.
Mikal and I gave Mrs. Davis a call yesterday evening to tell her the good news. She was very happy. This morning I dropped off the application to her home. That is what we do to make a difference in the community. We equip residents with the knowledge that they need to create and maintain healthier communities.
Let’s Invest for Tomorrow (Liberty City) was only the beginning of our efforts. We are still feeling the residual effects and making a difference in the lives of residents, like Mrs. Davis.
The next two events will be sponsored by Wells Fargo in the communities of Buena Vista West and Wynwood. The Buena Vista event will take place on June 8, 2013 from 10AM-1PM at Buena Vista Park. The Wynwood event will occur on June 22, 2013 from 11AM-2PM at Roberto Clemente Park. Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida and the Neighborhood Revitalization Collaborative are looking forward to continuing to make a difference in the community and promoting homeownership.