Using the Power Of One to Revive Community

Cover6Story By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

Transforming a neighborhoods or community must start from within.

That is the focus of leaders in Independence Heights.

“We see the condition of our community and we have banded together to do something about it,” said Community spokesman Kelvin Williams. “We are serious and people are recognizing the power of putting people and a plan together.”

The groups in Independence Heights have joined hands to save their community and formed one unified voice for the community.

The Independence Heights Collaborative Action Coalition (IHCAC) has brought together a force of power talent, skills and expertise and have declared war on the issues and problems that plague their neighborhoods.

It is  a group of organizations collaborating positively to serve the whole interest of the neighborhood.

“We have become one and believe that we are on the verge of doing something no one has been willing to do,” Williams said. “We are unselfishly investing time and volunteering talents to find ways to invest in our people living here and breath new life into our community that will help us grow again and survive.”

Groups that are working together in the cause are Independence Senior Living Facility, Power Living Missions, Inc., Beauty’s Community Garden, Yale Street Baptist Church, Food Everywhere Coalition,  Can Do Coalition, Independence Heights SuperNeighborhood, Independence Heights War on Drugs, Neighborhood Centers, Local Initiative Support Corporation and Booker T. Washington High School.

The volunteers are in an intense plan and effort to transform the entire community.

“We are trying to rally the neighborhood, build pride and let the people know that we care about the future of our neighborhood,” he said. “It is our goal to have a living neighborhood that is completely involved in the life of the community.”

Williams, lovingly known as the “Urban Farmer” offers his green thumb to help grow food and landscape and develop dormant green space areas. He also works closely with John Branch who leads the War on Drugs and SuperNeighborhood President Natasha Johnson and Can DO Houston Herisa Stanislaus and others to help shape a positive plan that will be used to renew and revitalize the area with some sustainable and more permanent fixtures.

Some of those include using events to jump start the move towards taking neighborhood back. Some of this events include the upcoming Juneteenth Celebration and Bash on June 19th.

Another goal is to have some community cleanup where the leaders lead by example and take the first steps in the long process of revitalization.

Other priorities include tackling one of the number one problems driving people out of the neighborhood – affordable housing.

“What people say is affordable is not affordable for those working minimum wage or low paying jobs,” he said. “We want to build some housing that is truly within the reach of people and gives them an opportunity to experience the pride of land and homeownership.”

The group is also working on plans for grants and support to build smaller energy efficient homes keeping costs low and training and using labor of people from the community to work on home building and construction jobs.

On building houses being built in the community.

“Many of our people need jobs,” he said. “Our unity and working together is the greatest tool we have and that power of one will help us succeed at this task.”

He said in the process of creating new home owners, a plan is in place to help future homeowners understand the power of ownership and the importance of keeping land in the family.

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