Equitable Community Development is Simply Smart | Opinion

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It’s too easy to forget that we’re in the same boat.

Every day we focus so much on the details of our individual daily lives.

We wake up and go to school or work to advance our future. Then we share precious moments with our friends and families.

For much of our lives, we focus on making things better for ourselves and those around us. We are sometimes blinded by the illusion that we live in our own little self-contained bubbles.

But we must not forget that here in Victoria, we belong to a larger community.

And when part of that community lags behind, we all suffer. Likewise, when part of the community benefits, we reap all the rewards.

Fortunately, Victoria is blessed with a municipal government that understands this wisdom. They also understand that improving the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods must be smart and well planned.

To maximize success, they should involve partnerships with community groups, nonprofit organizations, public institutions, and private developers when possible. So far it looks like they have.

“For Victoria to be a vibrant and thriving city, all of its neighborhoods must thrive,” said Victoria Deputy City Manager Mike Etienne and Director of Development Services Julie Fulgham. “We don’t want to leave any neighborhood behind.

This attitude may be high, but it is not in vain. It makes sense, in particular, dollars and cents.

As Victoria becomes a more beautiful and dynamic place to live, we have a better chance of improving our local economy. Businesses are more willing to come to our community, bringing jobs and investment here. Potential residents can see our resplendent city and decide to move their family here. In short, we are getting bigger and better.

That’s why the Victoria Advocate Editorial Board supports the city’s mission to revitalize neighborhoods hard hit by the plague, like Southside, Silver City and Queen City. Anyone remotely familiar with these areas knows that they suffer from increased crime, fewer retail options, dilapidated infrastructure, decaying housing and many other problems.

But the city has a plan.

City of Victoria officials are working to improve these neighborhoods and others through a variety of partnerships and smart projects. Many of these are outlined in the city’s Global Plan 2035.

To improve run-down homes, the city partnered with the Housing Finance Corporation to create an Infill Housing Program that aims to buy run-down vacant properties to make available to private builders who would then turn them into affordable housing. This program is part of a larger effort by the city to partner with developers to build affordable housing and renovate deteriorated homes.

Another community development block grant program, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, already provides roof and exterior repairs to eligible low-income households. In October, another CDBG program is expected to offer additional down payment and closing cost assistance.

To improve run-down neighborhoods, the city partners with community groups like the Southside Coalition to clean up unsightly trash and debris.

The city is also deploying code inspectors to proactively tackle tall grass, outdoor litter, unsanitary vacant homes and abandoned vehicles.

Finally, city officials are working to fill potholes and improve parks.

To improve the lives of residents living in degraded areas, the city is working with Workforce Solutions, Victoria College and other vocational training providers to increase access to jobs through training for high-demand careers and improvements associated with public transport.

These efforts represent very promising advances, but they must also be done in a way that prevents residents from being excluded from their own neighborhoods. City officials say they are aware of this threat and are working to limit this possibility by ensuring that many resources are provided specifically for at-risk residents.

They ensure that city-run resources are only available to low-income households, that new infill housing is priced for low-to-moderate income residents, the availability of repair grants, and the promotion of homeownership exemptions. for residents over 65.

There’s a lot going on in our city government aimed at improving Victoria’s most deprived neighborhoods, and that’s a good thing.

Not only does this make economic sense, but it is also a matter of community and democracy.

The Government of Victoria is responsible for serving all residents of this city. This means that everyone, not just the wealthy, deserves a piece of the pie.

No neighborhood deserves to be left behind, and when we make sure they aren’t, we all benefit.


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