Learn about the work we are doing across the country in our 2016 Impact Report: Tough Topics. Bold Change.
On December 12, 2016 HUD Announced Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant Awardees. Urban Strategies will lead People Implementation work on two awarded Implementation sites including the St. Louis, MO Near North Side and Louisville, KY Russell neighborhoods.
Please view the complete Choice Neighborhood Implementation Press Release
Thank you to all who attended the Urban Strategies Choice Means Choice conference on October 18-20, 2016 in St. Louis, MO.
Sessions included information and discussion on effective strategies for job training, case management, economic development and community engagement. Network and learn from other Choice sites and national leaders in community development.
Green Streets is a community-operated social venture that manages, recycles and composts waste in several Bay Area housing properties. Green Streets’ founders are entrepreneurs who lead by example. They came together to work and earn money for themselves and their community, educate neighbors on how to reduce and recycle waste, create a sustainable enterprise and build a better future. Green Streets, with nonprofits Urban Strategies and Citizen Film, has forged a partnership with one of the nation’s largest affordable-housing property managers, McCormack Baron Ragan (MBR), to replicate the Green Streets model nationwide. We are sharing the Green Streets story, so that others may be inspired to implement economic, environmental and social impact strategies within their own communities.
The story of Green Streets mirrors Tyrone’s life, with reasons to celebrate and challenges that would have made a weaker person quit. The process of creating a social enterprise was foreign to this group of young men and women from public housing communities in San Francisco. They weren’t used to formal meetings, trainings hosted by partners in the financial district and running their own business. Even finding a neutral place to meet was challenging, as they had to navigate gang and rival neighborhoods. When asked by an early training partner if they thought it would work out, Demorio responded to his skepticism with “We don’t have a choice.” Their options mainly revolved around the street economy, drug dealing, robberies and stolen property; and Tyrone knew this option had the potential to change their lives.
As Green Streets gained momentum while still wrestling with serious personnel and operational obstacles, Tyrone was on his own rollercoaster. He has a history of trouble at home, in school and on the streets and ended up in prison. Upon release he enrolled in a training program and got married. He was quickly challenged again as his young wife passed unexpectedly, leaving him with a six year old step-daughter and no housing. While dealing with this situation and being a driving force behind the success of Green Streets, he was involved in a serious work conflict and then returned to prison on an unrelated parole violation. He came out committed to turn his life around. He now has a three year old son; permanent housing; is enrolled in City College and was honored by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. He is the Operations Manager and leader of the Business Development team. He is also creating a documentary with his co-workers and Citizen Film, Green Streets’ most critical and committed partner in addition to Coneybeare, REDF and Recology. While he is surrounded by the same negative influences that derailed him in the past, Tyrone is dedicated to improving his life and the lives of those around him. He can carefully travel to neighborhoods where he would have been threatened in the past, but still lives with the fear that senseless violence could take his life at any time.
To further enhance the potential of Tyrone and his peers at Green Streets, he was recently selected to participate in Project ReMADE at Stanford University. Project ReMADE is an entrepreneurship training program for formerly incarcerated individuals. The program is founded on teaching basic business principles and providing mentoring by professionals and law and business students in an effort to increase participants’ entrepreneurial skills and social capital. The program occurs over approximately three months with three-hour class meetings occurring every other week for a total of six sessions. Classes cover topics ranging from accounting and marketing to negotiations and public speaking. In between each class meeting, participants meet with their mentor teams to develop a written business plan. Tyrone has started attending sessions at Stanford and working with the mentors.
Green Streets Today
Green Streets currently has over $330,000 in annual contracts with several McCormack Baron Ragan (MBR) properties. The company increased the rate of recycling and composting at MBR properties form 0% to over 60% within one year while reducing trash bills by almost the same level. The business also provides janitorial and grounds keeping and is about to launch a mobile waste management service. The Green Streets team is also proud to announce they were awarded a new contract with the John Stewart Company in West Oakland. Urban Strategies, Inc. is the fiscal agent for Green Streets and provides grant management, accounting and technical support along with programmatic expertise. As the 2013 financial year draws to a close, Green Streets is projecting a positive net income!
Green Streets can use your support to further advance the personnel and professional development of the business and participants. If you are interested in facilitating a workshop based on your business expertise, partnering to provide employee support services or would like to purchase their recycling, composting, resident outreach, grounds, janitorial or hauling services; please contact them at 415.552.4005.
You can get additional information about Green Streets using the following links:
In early 2013, Urban Strategies and McCormack Baron Salazar will break ground on a new, state-of-the-art early childhood education facility and training center in the Murphy Park community of St. Louis. The I. Jerome and Rosemary Flance Early Childhood Education Center will serve as a multi-purpose education hub for the community, providing intensive, child-focused, center-based education for young children, family and parent supports, and resources for local day care and family child care providers.
The Flance Center will be an innovative community facility that offers exceptional care and education for 154 children and their families in a child-focused, center-based environment. Strong family support and home visitation programs will help to integrate the roles of family, school and community, thus providing a nurturing environment for children’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical health from birth through age five. It will also serve as a training center for current and future providers of childcare from the surrounding community and from childcare centers, colleges and universities throughout the region.
The Flance Center will operate as a single program yet it will combine funding, resources and program requirements from multiple sources including Head Start, Early Head Start, and Missouri childcare programs. Children from all of these programs will receive the same comprehensive services in income-integrated classrooms. The Flance Center will serve to showcase high expectations for both the standards of care for young children and the qualifications of those who provide care.
The Center is named for I. Jerome Flance and his wife Rosemary Flance. Dr. Jerry Flance was a beloved physician, teacher and, after his retirement from medicine, a community developer who collaborated on the development of the Center and inspired many of its important features.
Succeeding with Reading is a comprehensive literacy system that builds reading and writing skills and inspires a love of reading in low income children that struggle with reading. The program was created in 2004 and has been implemented in public, faith-based, and private schools throughout St. Louis for 7 years.
Succeeding with Reading was formed out of research that reports that when low income children are somewhat below grade level in 3rd grade that they usually never catch up. By sixth grade many are 3 years below level and by high school many are 4-6 years behind. This trend is termed the “Fourth Grade Slump” and is what Succeeding with Reading strives to prevent.
The program, which is held during Out of School Time (OST), creates the conditions for student success. Classrooms always have a 3:1 student to teacher ratio, meaning students are always next to an expert reading teacher with knowledge and background in “Balanced Literacy,” a current best practice in literacy education. The curriculum creates a classroom culture that celebrates reading and writing, and excites children about books. The curriculum also includes an adult and family literacy component through which parents can enhance their own literacy skills and can learn how to read successfully with their child.
A key element of Succeeding with Reading is that every time a child comes to class the student receives a new or gently used book at their independent reading level to own in order to practice his/her newly acquired skills. Almost all of these books come from donations.
The Succeeding with Reading program will be scaled-up and offered across the network of Urban Strategies communities around the country.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of San Antonio recently announced the award of a $29,750,000 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant to the San Antonio Housing Authority, to revitalize the Wheatley Courts community on the city’s Eastside. Urban Strategies will serve as the People Implementation lead partner, McCormack Baron Salazar as lead developer and the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County is serving as the education partner. The grant was one of only four 2012 Choice Implementation Grants given out nationwide. The fiercely competitive grant, which had 42 national applications, provides funding to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods by revitalizing distressed public housing, improving economic opportunities and leveraging investments in critical community services.
Capitalizing on the robust family support program Urban Strategies has offered at Pueblo del Sol for years and the great physical amenities at the development, a health awareness and improvement collaborative was created for the community to enhance its local health strategies. In partnership with McCormack Baron Salazar and McCormack Baron Ragan, Urban Strategies is now implementing the Healthy Pueblo Wellness Initiative (“Healthy Pueblo”) at Pueblo del Sol to improve the health and well-being of families living in the community.
The objectives of Healthy Pueblo are to:
To carry out these objectives, Urban Strategies and local partner agencies are implementing a series of programs, activities, and policies that together will increase the wellness of families and create a healthy living community at Pueblo del Sol.
To learn more about the Healthy Pueblo initiative click links below: