Regional nonprofit organization Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley has announced that it will locate its Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood within two areas of the Christmas City – Census tract 112 on the Southside and also the Northeast’s Pembroke Village/Marvine area.
PNLV compiled data about the city’s neighborhoods in an environmental scan last year. The data was presented to the public at 15 public town hall meetings, which took place in each neighborhood in order to include the citizens of Bethlehem in the discussion that helped to determine the best place to establish the Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood. The PNLV Board of Directors reviewed the feedback gathered at those meetings along with the data from the scan before selecting the dual neighborhoods and accepted the recommendation to adopt the two geographic areas in Bethlehem as the starting points for the Bethlehem Promise Neighborhoods.
“The Bethlehem Area School District is excited to partner with PNLV,” said Vivian Robledo-Shorey, Director of Student Services and Minority Affairs for BASD. “The nine Promises of PNLV align perfectly with district goals, to have our students graduate from high school with the ability to enter college or pursue a career. Their success is our success. Who could ask for more?”
Initiated by the United Way and developed by community leaders, PNLV was envisioned and planned as a regional organization to address challenges facing families and children in select neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley. PNLV’s first neighborhood is in the Old Allentown Historic District downtown. The success of Allentown Promise Neighborhood has lead the organization to expand its model to the valley’s other cities, launching the Easton Promise Neighborhood in the city’s West Ward last year.
PNLV has also announced that it will partner with Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley on five new programs in Southside Bethlehem that will take Habitat’s ongoing home building program and grow it into a community-building Neighborhood Revitalization program.
Together they will build partnerships with residents, volunteers, supporters, and the community to empower residents to take back their neighborhoods with pride. The projects include:
Ongoing Community Needs Assessment – PNLV and Habitat will conduct success measurement surveys to determine the need and success rates of their programs in the Southside Bethlehem neighborhood. The data collection will feature door-to-door surveys by trained and paid PNLV community outreach teams to collect resident input similar to how the organization conducts its annual neighborhood surveys in Allentown and Easton. The collected data will then be used by both organizations to develop new solutions and strategies to address issues with affordable housing and related areas of concern for neighborhood residents.
The Flowerbox Project – This block-by-block community beautification activity features workshops where residents, volunteers and partners gather to cut materials for a flower box kit. The unassembled kit materials are taken to a neighborhood where residents are taught how to build their own box and plant their own flowers. The organizations hope to engage up to 250 Southside Bethlehem families in this initiative.
PNLV Block Party Celebrations – Habitat will partner with PNLV on its community block parties in both BPN neighborhoods this summer. More than 25 information tables from area nonprofit agencies will be on display to provide attendees with information about the community services they offer, along with music, games, food and other activities.
Exterior Home Preservation Project – An extension of Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization program, this initiative creates alliances with the community through working relationships with churches, neighborhood groups, homeowners associations, and schools to preserve and repair home exteriors, perform façade work, painting, weatherization and other repairs. These fixes address safety, security, code violations and accessibility issues for handicapped residents.
Building Pride, Building Community – As Habitat’s 40-home development in South Bethlehem nears completion next year, the nonprofit agency will survey homeowners about their hopes for the development, a possible name for the community, and about adding a park, walking trail, or playground to it in the future.
“The mission of all Promise Neighborhoods is built on nine promises, one of which is that ‘Students feel safe and live in stable communities’. Habitat shares this same goal which makes them a natural partner for PNLV,” said Yamil Sanchez Rivera, PNLV Executive Director. “We are excited to partner with them on the many programs that will allow our organization to better connect and serve the residents of our Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood on the city’s Southside.”
“A Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley partnership just makes sense,” said Deb Cummins, CEO of Habitat LV. “Both organizations are committed to changing the quality of life in targeted neighborhoods. Both rely on data to evaluate sustainable change. Both are specifically connected to one of the 9 promises around safe neighborhoods for kids and families. Working together, our staff’s have found synergies that make both programs stronger. We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership.”
About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley Founded in 2007 by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts. Its office is located at 1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 345-346 in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.
About Habitat Lehigh Valley People in your community and all over the world partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley has helped build and renovate over 100 decent and affordable homes in the Lehigh Valley since 1989. Contact Habitat Lehigh Valley at 610-776-7737 for additional information or explore its initiatives by visiting their website at www.habitatlv.org.