VOL. 115 | NO. 52 | Monday, March 19, 2001
After pooling resources from four local organizations, the newly formed Linden Neighborhood Collaborative, Inc
Plan aims at Linden revitalization
By JENNIFER MURLEY
The Daily News
As part of a dynamic new concept in neighborhood revitalization, the newly formed Linden Neighborhood Collaborative Inc. will host a groundbreaking ceremony today to announce the development of 20 new homes on Pontotoc Street.
The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Pontotoc Street between Danny Thomas Boulevard and Lauderdale Street.
Construction on the first five three-bedroom, two-bath homes will begin within the month. The homes, which will be priced at about $65,000 and available to low-to-moderate income, first-time homebuyers, should be complete within six weeks.
The remaining 15 homes, which will be located within the area, are expected to be complete within 18 months. W.M. Daugherty Co. LLC is the developer.
However, housing is only one aspect of the LNC.
By partnering the St. Patricks Center Inc., Methodist Health Care, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association and the Church Health Center, the collaborative is using a holistic approach in revitalizing the Linden neighborhood, offering residents much more than housing options.
"They all fit together in a collaboration to provide those essential services and needs to help the community grow and prosper," said Carol Crawley, executive director of the LNC.
The LNC defines the Linden neighborhood as Cleveland Street on the east, Lamar Avenue on the south, Third Street on the west and Madison Avenue on the north.
Aside from the their physical presence within the neighborhood, each partner in the collaborative has a vested interest the area and offers distinct services aimed at its revitalization.
For instance, St. Patricks Center Inc., 333 Linden Ave., is the local community developer dedicated to providing affordable housing in the Linden area.
Designated as a Community Housing Development Organization, St. Patricks qualifies for federal HOME money to finance the administrative and construction costs of their housing development program. The organization has secured a total of $205,000 in CHDO funds, which are administered through the city, for the first five homes being built on Pontotoc.
Robert Lipscomb, executive director of Memphis Housing Authority, said in addition to allocating CHDO funds to the housing development, the city also donated land for the project.
"Were really dual funders, providing the city-owned lots as well as some funding for the program," Lipscomb said.
In addition to boosting the neighborhood, the collaborative project will also capitalize on the citys recent renovation of the Foote Homes public housing property.
"Its really a bridge between Foote Homes and the Downtown area, and can hopefully be a catalyst to redevelop that neighborhood."
MIFA, whose corporate headquarters is located within the neighborhood at 910 Vance Ave., provides more base-level housing known as transitional housing. Transitional housing is rent-free temporary housing available to homeless families. Families can access the housing for up to 12 months, as long as they are working or in school, and saving 30 percent of their income.
Of the 70 transitional housing units managed by MIFA, 65 are located within the Linden neighborhood.
Conrad Lehfeldt, associate executive director for MIFA, said the partnership is designed to bridge the gap between transitional housing and home ownership for many families.
"Ideally, some of the families that we serve in our neighborhood would have the opportunity to purchase one of those homes," Lehfeldt said.
Methodist Health Care, located on Union Avenue, plans to implement workforce training within the neighborhood. Drawing on workers from a nearby neighborhood stands to benefit both the hospital in terms of proximity and the neighborhood in terms of increasing personal income.
"Job development and increasing personal per capita income will help stabilize the community and enable people to stay in those houses were building," Crawley said.
The fourth partner, the Church Health Center, rounds out the collaborative revitalization.
"The No. 1 cause of disease among poor people is poverty," said Dr. Scott Morris, executive director of the Church Health Center.
The center, which is nestled in the center of the Linden neighborhood at 1210 Peabody Ave., provides low-cost insurance to the working poor.
"We consider issues like housing to be very much a health care issue," Morris said.
"We see children who come in because they have an infectious disease because there were flies on their food. Which is easier, treat the child every time they come in sick because of the flies in their food or put screens on their doors?"
The collaborative, formed in January, plans to incorporate area residents into its day-to-day decision making processes. As far as identifying priorities within the neighborhood, Crawley said the residents and organizations operating within its boundaries should know best how to improve the quality of life.
"We look to provide leadership training and will be looking to the residents to help us formulate the overall strategic plan. When were gone, the residents can continue to govern their area."