Creating the Vision of a Mixed-Income Community
RHIC unites, empowers, and mobilizes residents and organizations as a vehicle by which to define and take action on issues common to the Reservoir Hill Community.
To revitalize the physical and human infrastructure of Reservoir Hill without resulting in full-scale gentrification and significant displacement, including rehabilitation of deteriorating buildings; alleviating poverty and its attendant problems, including poor sanitation, crime, education, low homeownership, and unemployment; and making the organized, informed voice of residents influential and effective.
Strategy – What We Do
The equitable development of urban communities requires a multi-faceted approach that prevents the alienation of poor and working class communities by connecting such communities to community planning, the broader region, economic improvements, and full engagement in democratic processes.
The foundation of RHIC’s approach is to aggregate the power of local associations and institutions by organizing a community-wide infrastructure through which we educate residents, train community leaders, promote mutual support among community associations, develop common perspectives and strategy, advocate to city and state leaders, and mobilize people in collective projects and campaigns grounded in economic and social equity.
RHIC’s application of this strategy takes five main approaches:
- Train community leadership, and provide organization and leadership in community planning.
- Attract an influx of new residents with sufficient resources to rehab deteriorated properties.
- Integrate new arrivals with current residents and engage the new arrivals in a community effort at addressing the challenges of urban neighborhoods.
- Advocate for policies and programs that ensure that revitalization benefits the majority low-to-moderate income population of Reservoir Hill, including quality, affordable housing, improvements in services, improvements in public education, and increased representation and leadership.
- Link Reservoir Hill issues and needs to city and regional campaigns.
Current Programs – How We Do It
The Housing and Community Development prioritizes: A campaign to reduce the number of vacant houses. Advocacy for policies and projects that ensure affordable housing. Monitoring the implementation of development projects. Providing housing, financial literacy, and wealth building counseling.
Neighborhood Organizing & Leadership Development – The organization coordinates four organizing initiatives:
- Greening Reservoir Hill to rehab parks and open space, encourage creation of private gardens and green projects, and advocate for green policies.
- The Inclusionary Housing Campaign to pass city-wide legislation requiring the development of housing affordable to low-to-moderate income families and the funding of an Affordable Housing Trust.
- The Better Schools Initiative, which works to increase school funding, facilitate school improvements, and foster the growth of the Parent-Teacher-Community Organization at the neighborhood school.
- The Tenants Rights Initiative to increase the organization of tenants, improve the condition of rental properties, and pass legislation addressing evictions.
Regional Policy & Organizing: RHIC works to create working relations between community associations and related organizations. These include issue alliances, an alliance of Westside organizations, and a city-wide coalition.
Community-based development requires the organized and influential participation of residents in real estate development decisions.
Development must be fair and equitable and result in housing options for all income levels.
Residents have a right to safety in their homes and in their streets; a right to quality, affordable housing; a right to a quality education, a right to informed, influential participation in community life and public decision-making, a right to access to services and information that benefit their families, a right to quality health care, and a right to substantive, meaningful employment.
The public has a right to comment upon and influence the use of publicly owned property, with a clear, simple, and direct way to exercise that right.
Neighborhood schools are crucial to community well-being. They promote the simple philosophy that school, community, and family are bound together and must work together to help children learn and succeed.
Communities must be an active part of shaping a framework for regional development that places equity at the center of regional growth and development, provides substantive power for low-income communities, and advances solutions to urban disinvestment.