Beginning with a group of neighbors living along Dudley Street at Blue Hill Avenue who came together in 1981 to form Nuestra Comunidad and create affordable housing in their community, the organization’s mission has centered on resident-led, community-centered efforts for neighborhood revitalization.
Today, Mission 180, our community-led, neighborhood-based planning effort carries on this tradition. Its goal is to turn Roxbury’s challenges around a full 180 degrees to a trajectory of success. Over the course of a two year planning process involving hundreds of neighborhood residents, business owners, and other stakeholders, Mission 180 has implemented a plan to:
- Promote entrepreneurship and economic opportunity;
- Use the arts as a catalyst for community and economic development;
- Create homeownership and rental opportunities for people of all incomes;
- Make Roxbury a safe community to raise a family
Community Safety Initiative
Nuestra Comunidad’s award-winning Community Safety Initiative is part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort that is reducing crime and transforming the community through a three-pronged approach that includes:
- Strong community policing partnerships between Nuestra Comunidad, the Boston Police Department Area B-2, City of Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD), City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), and neighborhood associations;
- Changing the physical and economic environment of the neighborhood by developing affordable rental housing, redeveloping vacant and/or foreclosed properties as home ownership opportunities, promoting homeownership, and fostering entrepreneurship;
- Fostering “Collective Efficacy,” which is “shared beliefs regarding human behavior to reduce crime, andconnecting people with community resources to assist them to become economically ‘self sustainable’.” (Robert Sampson, Harvard University, 2011)
Roxbury resident, Nuestra Comunidad Board Member, and Boston Police Officer Kenneth Grubbs was awarded the national Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership from NeighborWorks America in 2014.
In 2013, Nuestra Comunidad and the Boston Police Department won a first place award for effective neighborhood stabilization and community policing from the MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The initiative was selected out of 600 applications nationally.
Because building community begins with personal connections and relationship-building, NeighborCircles bring together neighbors for a series of small, informal dinners, where great conversation about each person’s path to their block leads to discussion about shared concerns or interests related to life in the neighborhood. This in turn leads to a collective plan for building on a neighborhood’s strengths or responding to a challenge.
Nuestra Comunidad has supported the creation and activity of four neighborhood associations in the Howard/Dacia, Alaska Street, Mount Pleasant/Vine Street, and Dudley Square neighborhoods. Supporting neighborhood associations nurtures the potential of micro communities – small groups of residents who share concerns, resources, and values. Through our work with neighborhood associations, Nuestra identifies and supports emerging community leaders who create change at the community level.