In gearing up to apply for a ninety-million-dollar grant to revitalize a huge swath of the city, the Wilmington Housing Authority made a loud plea for citizen involvement. And it’s now being answered. Nearly one hundred people—from public housing residents to local business leaders—are volunteering to serve on sub-committees dedicated to making Wilmington’s application as competitive as it can be.
If Wilmington is to receive federal funding to revitalize the area spanning Third to Fifteenth, and Castle to Martin Streets, it needs to demonstrate that its residents are willing to put forth the civic and financial investment to improve their own city. This is according to Housing Authority board chair Jeff Hovis, who adds that all four citizen sub-committees—People, Neighborhoods, Education and Housing--are busy brainstorming ways to demonstrate this.
"A lot of it is just getting people to share what they’re already doing in the community, because those go towards this grant. There’s already so much work going on, and then a lot of people have said, ‘You offer that service? Well I offer this service.’ And we’ve had people partnering up. People have found connections and have sort of networked within these groups to do other things with the community, so it’s really positive."
Hovis says volunteer initiatives including meeting with the area’s top employers to gauge Wilmingtonians’ future job prospects, and publicizing recent public housing improvements. Each committee is expected to meet on a weekly basis for the next several months.