Ivy City Community Development Project

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Southern New Hampshire University
Since January 2005, the Ivy City Community Development Project, led by sponsoring organization Empower DC, has worked to create an organization for the Ivy City community in Washington, DC, led by residents and stakeholders, to empower the community to control economic assets, to prevent the sale of their greatest public asset (Crummell School) and ensure its redevelopment, and to organize and develop capacity in the community to proactively address rapid gentrification. Grassroots organization Empower DC has led community organizing efforts and developed community capacity through conducting needs assessment and necessary trainings. In May 2005 residents and stakeholders brought together by Empower DC named the Historic Ivy City/Crummell School Revitalization Coalition (Ivy City Coalition for short), wrote its mission statement and established working committees to protect residents from the threat of displacement due to rising housing costs. Through the Ivy City Coalition, residents and stakeholders have greatly increased their civic participation and have exercised enormous influence on the course of decision making impacting the Ivy City community. In response to city-sponsored revitalization proposals, residents authored the Ivy City Plan for Home Again and established the Home Again/Ivy City Task Force which meets on a regular basis with the city to design the planned development of 60+ new housing units, which residents are pushing to be offered to very low-moderate income families with current residents receiving priority. The Ivy City Community Development Project will be evaluated based on: 1) The sustained involvement and leadership of residents and stakeholders 2) The successful completion of a revitalization plan for Ivy City 3) The successful negotiation of partnerships with District government, community developers and financial institutions to actualize the revitalization, and 4) Instituting measures of sustainability for the Ivy City Coalition. (Author abstract)