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Habitat For Humanity Helping Long Branch Neighborhoods Grow

LONG BRANCH: Habitat For Humanity is looking to go from growing homes to growing neighborhoods in the city.

"Our latest initiative is here in Long Branch, it's called the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative," Habitat For Humanity Monmouth County Director of Operations Laura Lella-Smith said at the May 24 Long Branch Council meeting.

Representatives from Habitat For Humanity have been out mapping and surveying the streets of Long Branch to find out the community conditions and to build trust with residents in those communities. The results of that survey should be released sometime this month.

"The residents drive the process and we are the coordinators," Lella-Smith said. "By empowering the residents to make the changes, they'll want to stay here, live here and work here."

The process began earlier this year with the House That Youth Built project. House That Youth Built is a house that is built, planned and designed by students from Long Branch High School's Project Lead The Way.

"The students have been out at 241 7th Ave., and we've started construction for a home for a Long Branch family," Lella-Smith said. "It's a beautiful project and it's a kick-off to our revitalization initiative."

The property was donated to Habitat For Humanity by the city and there will be more lots made available in the future.

Habitat's next project is at the Amerigo A. Anastasia Elementary School where Habitat For Humanity will help install sidewalks that lead to the school located on 7th Avenue.

"We're going to be doing that with the help of residents and Habitat volunteers as well as our youth," Lella-Smith said.

That project should begin in the next 6 months.

Lella-Smith there are two other "defined" neighborhoods her group is looking at for other revitalization projects.

"The residents drive the process and we are the coordinators," Lella-Smith said. "By empowering the residents to make the changes, they'll want to stay here, live here and work here."

Mayor Adam Schneider commended Habitat For Humanity for the work they have done so far in the city.

"What you guys do is phenomenal," Schneider said.


Read more from: Long Branch

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