First, a bit of history: You are probably aware that a group of your Brooklyn Street neighbors have formed a group called Brooklyn Street Neighborhood Alliance. From their website at brooklynstreetna.org:

Mission Statement: To create a sustainable, multi-generational, life-sharing community within North Adams that includes persons with disabilities, families, and friends.
Vision Statement: We believe that everyone deserves to be a life-long contributing member of a diverse community, and to have the opportunity to form meaningful relationships. We envision a community that will provide opportunities for people with different abilities to live, work, and play together.

 

Brooklyn Street faces serious challenges. A number of homes are empty, owned by banks that have no interest in the neighborhood and others are under threat of foreclosure. Many of us live in homes that are due for fixes or improvements, and new people who buy houses on the street may also want to fix things up. We all want the street to be a better place for our families.

A couple of BSNA members have been active in Habitat for Humanity for some time, and they proposed that BSNA and Habitat form a partnership to help new and long-time homeowners on Brooklyn Street to stay in and improve their homes. Habitat enthusiastically agreed to join us!

How will this work?

If a project is approved, Habitat for Humanity will act as contractor, working as much as possible with volunteer labor to minimize costs. At least some of this volunteer labor will come from neighbors.

Here is an outline of how a project might work out:

  1. A homeowner proposes a repair or improvement project to a Brooklyn Street residents committee.

  2. This committee decides if the proposed project should go to Habitat for planning, cost estimates.

  3. If Habitat thinks the project will work, they will prepare a rough plan for the work to be done with cost estimates for materials, permitting, and work that must be done by outside contractors.

  4. The Brooklyn Street committee then asks whether funding is available:

    1. Does the homeowner have the money?

    2. If not, can funding be found elsewhere?

  5. If the project is feasible, it is added to the list of Brooklyn Street projects for Habitat.

  6. A number of factors will determine when the project happens:

    1. How soon the homeowner needs the project to be done.  

    2. Habitat’s work schedule and availability of volunteer workers.

    3. When funds are available.

    4. Season (indoor vs. outdoor projects).

To be determined - by you!

We all need to organize a committee of Brooklyn Street residents (not just the original group) whose job will include:

  1. Reaching out to residents of the street and finding potential projects.

  2. Working with Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity to organize projects.

  3. Exploring fund-raising to help cover expenses for projects.

  4. Explaining what we are doing to the larger community.

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