Haverhill’s Working Cities Team.
Mount Washington neighborhood residents are being asked to share information and ideas at a meeting Saturday designed to lead to a larger effort to improve “the lives of low-income people.”
Dr. Deborah L. Puntenney, affiliated with Northwestern University’s Asset-Based Community Development Institute, is guiding the meeting organized by the city’s newly formed Working Cities Partnership.
“This event is the kick-off for several months of ‘asset-mapping’ conversations in Mount Washington—a grassroots process of identifying strengths of the neighborhood and its people, then mobilizing those assets to accomplish goals identified by the residents themselves,” according to a statement.
The meeting takes place Saturday, Jan. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rehoboth Lighthouse Gospel Church, 409 Washington St. Separate children’s activities will be provided allowing parents to join the meeting. Interpretation services will also be available for Spanish-speakers.
As WHAV reported last November, the group was awarded a $15,000 grant to develop a proposal to compete for up to $500,000 in neighborhood improvements. Money comes from the state, Living Cities, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, NeighborWorks America, Smith Family Foundation and MassDevelopment.
Puntenney is a research associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago. She operates her own research and consulting firm specializing in the areas of asset-based community development, community-based participatory research, program evaluation and social justice strategies for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, according to Northwestern University.
To aid in planning for the children’s area, interpretation equipment and food, residents are encouraged to register by calling (978) 228-1060, or emailing [email protected].
Haverhill’s “Working Cities” Partnership is a coalition of grassroots, nonprofit and government entities. Besides the City of Haverhill, lead partners are Community Action and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. Core partners include Haverhill Public Schools, Northern Essex Community College, Rehoboth Lighthouse Full Gospel Church, Team Haverhill, Emmaus, Urban Kindness, Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Jaffarian Volvo and Toyota, Fantini Bakery, community groups and neighborhood residents.
The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013, builds on Federal Reserve Bank of Boston research that found success in those cities where people “work together” towards “a comprehensive vision.” Studies found 10 mid-sized manufacturing-dependent cities out of 26 nationwide were able to “either maintain or recover much of their economic stability, as measured by income, reduced poverty rates, population and economic vitality.” The successful cities are Evansville and Fort Wayne, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Greensboro, N.C.; Jersey City, N.J.; New Haven, Conn., Peoria, Ill.; Providence, R.I.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Worcester.