Daily Point of Light # 2977 Jul 4, 2005

Our program encourages a strong partnership and participation between government, business and volunteers to enhance the quality of life within our community. Through our city’s support and coordination of this program, through the monetary support of our local businesses in funding and providing necessary materials, and through the efforts of our citizen volunteers and nonprofits, our program exemplifies a “community of caring for those in need.”

The “Neighborhood Initiative Program” was started in January 2004. This program was spawned from our City Council’s desire to start a program that would assist in achieving their local goals of “quality development,” “redevelopment” and “quality of life amenities.”

In developing this program, we did away with the conventional code enforcement techniques of issuing citations to residents who often cannot afford to pay them. Code officers and Neighborhood Initiative volunteers now identify those in need within neighborhoods and help them with basic property maintenance, while enhancing neighborhoods beyond minimum standards.

Since the inception of the “Neighborhood Initiative Program” we have completed over 50 neighborhood projects. Approximately 16 businesses, Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, and 200 volunteers have contributed money, supplies and time to assist the elderly, low-income, single parents, handicapped, and those who just need a little helping hand. Projects we have completed include removing junk and debris from properties, replacing rotting wood and painting homes, demolishing substandard structures and simple yard maintenance. All of the work is completed at no cost to the recipient, and all time spent on each project are volunteered hours. Helping those who cannot help themselves has drawn our community closer together and has improved the quality of life for everyone.

The Neighborhood Initiative is an excellent example of a successful public-private partnership. By working together we have provided real cost-effective solutions to code enforcement problems. We have not only helped individuals in need, we have made neighborhoods safer and more livable. There are very few cities that have pulled together the support of their business community, citizens and nonprofit organizations to work together in helping those who are in need.