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Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley knows that just one home in a blighted neighborhood, while a good start, is not the only help a community needs. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative was designed to transform neighborhoods using a holistic approach— joining residents, nonprofits, businesses, local governments and communities of faith to create and implement a shared vision of revitalization. Through this effort, Habitat EB/SV will serve more families by responding to community needs with an expanded array of products, services and partnerships. Together, Habitat EB/SV, neighborhood residents and local partners can change the face of neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for all the families who live there.
In addition to providing housing improvements, Habitat EB/SV has partnered with other community organizations to engage residents in new ways. Volunteers and community members have worked together to abate neighborhood graffiti and improve pedestrian infrastructure. Habitat EB/SV has joined coalitions focusing on neighborhood safety, community clean up and resident leadership. By keeping involved with the residents of our focus neighborhoods, Habitat EB/SV continues to work towards neighborhood revitalization on a holistic level.
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley launched our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts in 2010 and selected Bay Point as our first focus neighborhood. Since then, we have completed ten renovation projects and finished construction on nine new housing units, providing the opportunity for low-income families to become homeowners for the first time. We recognize that affordable housing is only one element necessary to revitalize a community. In addition to providing housing improvements, Habitat EB/SV has partnered with other community organizations to abate neighborhood graffiti and improve pedestrian infrastructure.
Bay Point was selected as our first focus neighborhood. Together, Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley, local residents and partners can change the face of neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for all the families who live there.
One of the Neighborhood Revitalization projects not currently funded is the improvement of the school experience for the children at Bel Air Elementary School, located in an impoverished neighborhood in Bay Point, adjacent to the Bel Air Trail. Safety is the primary concern of both parents and teachers alike.
A project plan has been developed that includes installing privacy slats on the school's metal fence that will not only block the graffiti that covers the adjacent trail wall from the children's view but will preclude intruders from scaling the fence and entering the schoolyard. Included in the plan is repainting the Bel Air Trail Wall and planting jasmine that will discourage graffiti tagging in the future.
The second priority area is the Outdoor Reading Area adjacent to the library. Phase two of the project plan will transform this parcel of land into a study area for children, complete with picnic tables, an asphalt walkway and paving stones where each child will paint their unique anti-bullying theme on the stone. The final phase of the project is to repaint the tetherball poles to eliminate the risk to children who have collided with these metal structures. The staff chose a fun "pencil theme" that will transform the schoolyard and safeguard the children.
The Dorsa-TOCKNA (Tully, Ocala, Capital and King Neighborhood Association) is a neighborhood on the east side of San Jose near Reid Hillview Airport and the Eastridge Mall. There are approximately 11,000 San Jose residents living in this neighborhood, per the 2010 Census. The southernmost portion of Dorsa-TOCKNA has the highest number of people per household as well as the lowest median income within the neighborhood. Also, the community as a whole has a higher household size than average for San Jose.
Over ninety percent of all homes in the Dorsa-TOCKNA were built between 1959 and 1965, while an additional building spike took place in 1979. Over ninety percent of the homes were constructed when efficiency standards were lax or non-existent. In addition, thirty-seven percent of homes feature flat, or nearly flat, roofs that are less likely to be well insulated.
Residents of Dorsa-TOCKNA are primarily Hispanic and Latino (73%) and Asian (21%), the majority of whom are of Vietnamese decent. Over 60% of Dorsa-TOCKNA residents speak Spanish, and just over 20% of residents speak Asian and Pacific Island languages. Thirteen percent of households speak little or no English, a distinction that the U.S. Census defines as linguistic isolation.
San Jose has invested attention, resources, and planning into Dorsa-TOCKNA, having identified the neighborhood as a focal point in its Strong Neighborhood Initiatives program. In addition, Dorsa-TOCKNA served as the pilot location for San Jose to implement its Better Buildings Programs as a way to achieve the City's adopted Green Vision Goals.
Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley is working with existing community organizations to develop updated action plans and goals, which include addressing housing concerns. Together, the community and Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley, will begin to implement these plans and goals. Resident Involvement and participation, and opportunities for community partnerships, are plentiful.
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