Neighborhood Summit

NOTE NEW DATE! July 10th

One of the top reasons people decide to move to South Orange and Maplewood is our neighborhoods. The secret is that our neighborhoods would not be so outstanding without the work of neighbors uniting and working together. Many of the changes we see around the two towns—from business improvement districts and traffic calming to beautification—would not have happened but for neighborhood and block groups working together. And these groups do more than fix problems: block parties and yard sales are where we really get to know our neighbors—bonding over kids running around eating popsicles, while the adults enjoy a potluck feast.

On Tuesday, July 10th starting at 7:30 PM at the Woodland in Maplewood, the Residential and Neighborhoods Committee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will host its first Neighborhood Summit in ten years! The first portion of this Summit will focus on the nuts and bolts of organizing a neighborhood group. From there, groups will discuss how neighborhoods are on the forefront of mobilizing on issue areas like race and affordability and are the groups who work to welcome and support neighbors. Visa gift cards will be offered through a door prize drawing to help support efforts to connect as neighbors. This Summit will have something for individuals looking to mobilize new groups, as well as for groups in place and looking to add more resources.

The Residential and Neighborhoods Committee was one of the Community Coalition on Race’s first initiatives. The committee started off with organizing neighborhood associations and realtor testing, a method used to examine if there is racial bias in the real estate sales process. Teams of couples of different racial backgrounds, but similar socio-economics would explore the market at the exact same time. In several instances, the test revealed that at the time buyers of one demographic were directed to one part of town and buyers of another demographic to another part of town. The Coalition brought this practice to light and worked with local realtors to understand that all parts of our two towns should be open to everyone. More recently, The Residential and Neighborhoods Committee also created a home maintenance loan program to help residents fix portions of their property and provided tours of our two towns to show perspective residents that every neighborhood is a great place to live in our SOMA community. The Residential and Neighborhoods Committee is eager to dive in and support the organization of neighborhood and block groups to continue to build strong and welcoming communities.

What’s next for the Residential and Neighborhoods Committee? We are going back to our roots and focusing on how we can ensure residents living in SOMA neighborhoods – from single family homes and multifamily units to apartment buildings – are supporting and welcoming each other, and working together on neighborhood matters. Specifically, we are looking to address matters of affordability in our region.

To RSVP for the Neighborhood Summit or to volunteer for the Residential and Neighborhoods Committee please e-mail info@twotowns.org or call 973-761-6116.

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