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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 59

Week #59

'Resident-Led Community Development' Public Housing + Community Health - Part III

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoë Haddad (Walls Project)

Jazzika Matthews (Director of Operations, Safe Hopeful Healthy)

  • Violence is one of the largest issues we are dealing with

  • Safe, Hopeful, Healthy strives to address violence specifically through a framework of community based public safety programming

  • One of our flagship projects is the Baton Rouge Community Street Team - folks from the community utilizing their relationships as credible messengers to interrupt violence

  • Hired nine individuals within 70802 and 70805 who will serve in two roles: High Risk Interventionists and Community Navigators

  • Interventionists are like first responders - they are on the ground right away utilizing relationships they already have and are building as HRI, offer support to families

  • Community Navigators are supports to the families of our high risk mentees, come in and offer services and infiltrate those high risk individuals’ families to create an ecosystem of support

  • School based intervention social workers are being placed within the schools of Istrouma, Glen Oaks, Scotlandville, Capitol High, and McKinnley

  • We are charging them with working outside the four walls of the schools in partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Health Care Centers and Schools

  • Must be folks from the community who know the area, the families

  • Also starting the Public Safety Round Table - bringing everyone together in one room who have an interest in public safety. Experts along with community members who can really talk about what’s going on and get answers from both sides

  • Resident Leaders is our final flagship

Marlee Pittman (Mid City Redevelopment Alliance)

  • Wanted to talk about the strategy around training residents and how that connects to housing

  • Brief history of housing: early 20th century American cities saw housing next to factories and shops, dense tenements with immigrants living in close proximity. The plague of the early 20th century changed people’s perspectives, that this was a bad way to live as plague spread among people living close together. The movement to spread people out was born out of that. All of the federal subsidizing after WWII led to the suburbs being born. Federal government owned public housing prior to this - apartment complexes with both white and black families, middle class, well kept up, didn’t have the present stigma. Abandoned those out of the belief they were unsafe - that is, white families moved out to the suburbs and spread out. It was actually illegal to integrate federal housing. There was a compromise made at the US Congress - no integration if you want federal dollars

  • All that to say, it is not an accident how Baton Rouge is - it was federal policy

  • Policy made without residents at the table giving input - our belief is that you will never have equity without those residents being a part of those conversations and decisions

  • Courtney Scott, Geno and I brainstormed what we can do to change the face of development in our city...that’s where resident-led development came out

  • How do we get resources to them, empower residents to lead that change

  • That’s where Safe, Hopeful Neighborhoods came in

  • Give residents the connections to power to help them achieve their goals

Geno McLaughlin (Build Baton Rouge)

  • About the Resident Leader Academy:

  • Serves EBR residents in low to moderate income neighborhoods expressing an interest in becoming more involved in the community

  • Resident-led is what we were thinking about in trying to design this program

  • Oftentimes things take a top-down approach but we wanted take a grassroots approach, to look at who has power, who has the opportunity to affect change - it should be the residents that live there

  • Targeted five specific neighborhoods to empower those residents to make positive developments in their own neighborhoods

  • Educate on best practices and how to utilize city parish resources and improve quality of life for the community

  • Seven sessions starting Saturday June 5 - July 31

  • Skills Covered: Leadership, Community Organizing, Building Coalitions, Marketing and Communication, Project Planning and Evaluation, Managing Project Budget & Grant Writing

  • Panel topics: City-Parish and You!, Community Development, Blight, and Housing, Community Organizing for Your Neighborhood, The History of Community Revitalization and the Color of Law, Neighborhood Strategies for Crime, Community Stabilization and Creative Placemaking

  • The goal is for these residents to be able to organize together, start Civic Associations, and have the resources to fund these organizations, to plug in to areas beyond housing like violence prevention, race and equity, healthcare, whatever it is in their neighborhoods

Manny Patole (Co-City Baton Rouge)

  • Work with Professor Clayton Gillette, Sheila Foster, Krystle Okafor, and Demetris Causer

  • We’re trying to build on the concept of navigational capacity of residents along with community economic development

  • Our idea is a community land bank - hybrid of a community land trust and a land bank

  • Land banks are government-entities that have something called disposition problem, able to acquire properties but not put them into activity for public use

  • Land trusts have acquisition problems, meaning they have difficulty acquiring land

  • What happens after they return to private ownership is typically out of land bank’s purview

  • Affordability is left to the whim of the marketplace, upkeep is left to the new owners and occupancy is dependent on the owners’ ability to make mortgage payments

  • We’re looking at building one of these new community land banks to meet community needs

  • Krystle’s research goes a bit more into the bylaws and governance, board structure, decision making processes

Demetris Causer (Build Baton Rouge)

  • Research and gather internal documents from community land trusts and land banks throughout the nation, which included contacting COTs and speaking to executive presidents to understand how they function, how they’ve grown, how they’ve dealt with issues, etc. Those include the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust in Richmond, VA, Fruit Belt Community Land Trust in Buffalo, NY, and the Guadalupe Development Corporation in Austin, TX

  • Gather Articles of Incorporation, by laws, Memorandum of Understanding

  • Define state compliance requirements, research Louisiana law specifically, understanding and outlining requirements for creating a nonprofit entity which is what this entity will become to pass that off to Manny and the team

Coalition Questions and Discussion

Reverend Anderson (PREACH): Why do we assume renters are less invested in safety than homeowners? Much of our zoning, tax code and incentives are not about building sustainable rental communities but creating the environment for high crime situations. For example: Tigerland, where the allowance of a high alcohol/drug business culture takes precedence over a safe and livable community.

Marlee Pittman: With the history of assumptions of renters vs. homeowners - we’re breaking that down. Being a home ownership is not for everybody, being a renter doesn’t mean you’re less than. It’s changing in our field. I think you can correlate who has been home owners and who has been renters and how that has helped lead to the opinion that homeowners are great, engaged, happy, safe neighbors whereas renters are not. I also want to talk about zoning. Zoning is why you get things like a propensity for daiquiri shops next to rental housing and not middle class homes.

Geno McLaughlin: I think we can all agree that renters and homeowners alike are just as deserving of a safe, hopeful, healthy pun intended. They really are. I think that’s what this collaborative is designed to do. There are experts in different fields who in their own way can add to the conversation and bring about that result. You have to be intentional about planning and designing a neighborhood that reflects the goals we hope to see. When Manny and Demetris are talking about community land trusts and land banks, we’re talking about preventing displacement in advance. As we’re building these new developments it's not just about building pretty facades but mixed use developments with mixed income individuals and families together in a prosperous landscape

Manny Patole: With a healthy city, you need that mixed portfolio. With zoning, neighborhoods have to have access to wraparound services as well. Transportation, healthcare, childcare, activities and work opportunities. The idea of having all those available services in addition to housing makes the city a better place to be.

Reverend Anderson: Our policies are very racialized. They incentivize negative industries to be in certain communities. I was thinking about the conversation last week where the COA is doing their village project about building specific assets for their particular community. I brought up Tigerland because it’s now becoming a policing state. What was built by policy, zoning, and incentives is being treated like nobody could see what was going to happen there. Second, I’ve worked with HUD a long time and a lot of these initiatives sound like the 90s initiatives. In every community, there’s always a “mother” in that neighborhood that knows everything, the energy, the heartbeat, fill in the blank. If those people are being asked who is a community leader as opposed to people who are considered acceptable...I’d like to ask Geno to touch that one.

Geno McLaughlin: With the Resident Leader Academy, we want those individuals...I want to deep dive and talk to that block captain. There are individuals already doing the work but they don’t get any sort of headlines….oftentimes what we find is they’re not talking to each other. We want to plug residents into real organizing training, into city and government resources. While we wait on the government to do some of these things, the power is in our hands to change our own community.

Manny Patole: A lot of the work we’ve been doing is helping those local leaders understand the language to make a change as well. A lot of those local leaders don’t know the language for interacting with others in those areas of power, how to leverage those relationships to make changes. The idea of navigational capital is a huge component.

Marlee Pittman: Very quickly, wanted to speak to some of the challenges...when you have multiple nonprofits and city agencies working hand in hand, each person has things that are deeply important to them. The hill that Geno was always willing to defend to the end was that the residents involved can’t just be politically palatable. He is very intentional that he wants those grassroots residents.

Rinaldi Jacobs (Scotlandville CDC): In general, housing is the bedrock for attracting other businesses, entrepreneurs...It is the driver for economic change. The problem we run into a lot is that, in Scotlandville, the CDC has been that conduit. There needs to be that conduit in the community to address the needs of housing, either through city government or public/private partnerships. I don’t want to move out my neighborhood - someone was killed down the street the other day, but I still want to live in my North Baton Rouge neighborhood.

SK Groll (Walls Project): I’m thinking about the safety program discussed at the beginning and what MOUs or other understandings are in place with the police department.

Jazzika Matthews: The relationship between law enforcement is expected to be amicable but it is not expected that our street team report things to law enforcement. They are charged with gathering information and using their efforts to intervene. It’s possible they may come to our street team for support but we are not putting them in a position where they are offering up information to law enforcement. Chief Paul is on board and has been since the beginning. They are supporting the effort but from the background. It must be perceived and positioned as community based.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV): Thinking back thirty years ago when we started this model with Scotlandville CDC. The missing component was policy changes. Who’s working on that? If we don’t change some of those policies the money won’t come where we need it to come. We need an intentional act to make sure that the people making decisions are intentional about bringing resources into communities. There's money on the table that we can’t get to people. Organizations like ours need help building capacity to get to the next level. The Academy’s going to be awesome - I’m going to be in the Academy. But things are ever changing - to get businesses into our community, what has stopped us? What’s been the barrier? It’s around the city. You have people working on their block and they’re going nowhere. We need to make sure we can help people make a difference after they get the training.

Marlee Pittman: For every neighborhood that graduates they will receive $2500 for a project that they need, that they design. That’s a step in the right direction but we are on the receiving end of city funds for development purposes.

Geno McLaughlin: There’s money that built into this structure to be funneled to CDCs, Civic Associations, starter funds...we have actually put dollars into the budget to be able to assist. There’s technical assistance as well. Marlee Pittman: We can help pay for attorneys, pay registration fees with the Secretary of State.

Pat LeDuff: What about the clearing of titles with the land? We need that.

Marlee Pittman: We didn’t want to duplicate that and/or pull money from the experts for a new program that wouldn’t necessarily be the best use of funds. There are ways this country and this city could be funding affordable housing…but like you said earlier, that’s big policy change and it’s not in the hands of Geno nor I. It’s frustrating.

Pat LeDuff: And environmentals...enough enough enough! Fix the problem.

Gretchen Siemers (Build Baton Rouge): Thinking about the housing stabilization piece in terms of renting vs. home ownership...My professional career was in California prior to moving here. Thinking about tenants rights, my babysitter just got evicted, thirty days notice, for no real reason. What I’m thinking about is trying to figure out if there’s anything that prohibits us from including some kind of tenants rights to stabilize those neighborhoods that do have lots of renters. Something I’ll have to work with the team on to figure out.

Geno McLaughlin: You and I should connect. I’m doing some work with tenants rights. That’s an action we might want to think through further.

Alfreda Tillman Bester (Children and Family Services): First I want to respond to Gretchen because there’s an immediate need - the SU Law center does have assistance for people being evicted. Call Professor Yolanda Singleton Martin. (225) 771-4900. I love the projects you are putting together. There are so many things we know we need to be addressing right now including the empowerment of the people living in the communities. First there has to be properly resourced investment in our communities. The only way we’ll know what investments need to be made is if we ask the people who live there. I grew up in an African American community. We knew what we needed. Economic opportunity has to be there. If we know we have food deserts, stores need to hire people in the community. It’s about being a part of the community, integrating the community and projects - economic development, healthcare, affordable housing. We know what needs to be done. People are engaged most of the time in crime because they have no opportunity and no hope.

Dr. Tony Jones (UFL): I’m a faith based organizer - I take the faith community and connect them to the needs of the community at present. Working with the education system in EBR and racial justice. Co-founded a group called UFL (United Faith Leaders), trying to connect them with needs. I teach faith and leadership at a Bible college locally. What I’m trying to find out is how I can connect this group with the needs you’re talking about, whether it's housing or anything.

Casey Phillips (Walls Project): You and I are going to chop it up over some coffee, sir, at your earliest convenience.


Zoom Chat

08:22:33 From Walls Project to Everyone: Good morning, we’ll start at 8:30!

08:32:08 From Welch, Kelly S to Everyone: Hope you feel better VERY soon! <3

08:39:40 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone: Echoing Kelly’s well wishes! Take care, Casey!

08:40:51 From herstory to Everyone: This is all wonderful! Thank you Jazzika.

08:41:46 From Flitcher.R. Bell to Everyone: Great programs you are beginning Jazzika! Please put your contact information in he chat.....

08:42:04 From Jazzika Matthews to Everyone: Jazzika Matthews

08:42:06 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Is there any effort to asset map neighborhoods and allow those communities to decide who is credible partner to prevent not respond? Particularly empowering through neighborhood watchs, inclusion of renters and young people and putting simple safety tools like good lighting, sidewalks, free and available after and out of school programming.

08:42:26 From Jazzika Matthews to Everyone: Jazzika Matthews 225-242-9161

08:44:21 From HAWF Team to Everyone: If you want to explore this history more deeply, I highly recommend The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein.

08:44:43 From Jazzika Matthews to Everyone: Baton Rouge Community Street Team; School Based Outreach; Public Safety Roundtable

08:45:54 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Why do we assume renters are less invested in safe than homeowners? Much of our zoning, tax code and incentives are not about building sustainable rental communities but creating the environment for high crime situations. For example: Tigerland, where the allowance of a high alcohol/drug business culture takes precedence over a safe and livable community.

08:47:04 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone:

08:50:19 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Skills Covered: Leadership, Community Organizing, Building Coalitions, Marketing and Communication, Project Planning and Evaluation, Managing Project Budget & Grant Writing

08:51:11 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Panel topics: City-Parish and You!, Community Development, Blight, and Housing, Community Organizing for Your Neighborhood, The History of Community Revitalization and the Color of Law, Neighborhood Strategies for Crime, Community Stabilization and Creative Placemaking

08:51:30 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Much of that program sounds like the program focus in the 90's through HUD. May I ask how HUD and the state will partner in this effort?

08:52:47 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Geaux Geno- Awesome!!! Very exciting

08:53:43 From herstory to Everyone: Geno, can you put your contact information in the chat?

08:55:01 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: May I ask how much engagement was done with groups like VOTE, Capital Area Reentry Coalition and other groups that are either formerly incarcerated led or work closely with currently or formerly incarcerated persons?

08:57:14 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: In discussing housing costs how much work is being done to build more self sustainable housing at the affordable income level (solar power/recyclable water systems, etc.)?

08:57:29 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Land bank= a large body of land held by a public or private organization for future development or sale to private developers.

08:57:31 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Land Trust = large public or private organization develops the land, often for affordable housing, where the organization maintains ownership of the land to ensure it is kept up, it maintains its affordability, and continues to build wealth for families.

08:57:32 From Geno to Everyone: Geno McLaughlin

Community Engagement- Build Baton Rouge

(225) 205-4561

08:59:17 From herstory to Everyone: Thanks Geno!

08:59:32 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Last week's call the EBRCOA talked about their senior village project. Is there any work being done to build out affordable housing communities that are not law enforcement focused but community need focused?

09:01:52 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Love your puppy!

09:02:26 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Thank you for putting that fact out there!

09:03:08 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: Here’s that url

09:03:21 From Manny Patole to Everyone: Thanks, Chris!

09:05:00 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Density creates affordability!

09:05:11 From christian to Everyone: Many states/cities have mandated that all apartments are mixed income.

09:06:04 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone: Congrats on launching the leadership program. I know that has been a big effort. Have you all also considered the need to also train those who currently make decisions and manage programs and departments about how to work and collaborate with community? shared power and co-design (human-centered design)?

09:08:53 From Rinaldi Jacobs to Everyone: Financial Literacy has to be part of the bedrock to home ownership. The Scotlandville CDC has brought not only affordable housing. Housing is the kick off for attracting businesses, jobs, and entrepreneurship

09:09:15 From SK Groll to Everyone: Thanks for the presentation! In thinking about these safety initiatives, how do you separate out those community first responders from policing? How do you programmatically build community ownership of safety in a way that doesn’t just add more resources to policing?

09:09:54 From Manny Patole to Everyone: Please add your questions about the Resident Leader Academy, Safe/Healthy/Hopeful program, or about the Community Land Bank… or anything around housing/community health and placemaking

09:10:44 From Gretchen Siemers to Everyone: DeMetris: Do you happen to know if there is anything in state law that would prohibit us from including any type of tenants' rights measures or rent stabilization in the Plank Overlay District?

09:10:46 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Let’s talk about the financial resources that comes with the training

09:11:04 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Absolutely Pat

09:11:08 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: "talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not”-Leila Janah

09:11:28 From Samantha Morgan to Everyone: I would like to invite you to my neighborhood to talk to our block leader. She is a champion. I’m on 12th at Louisiana

09:11:54 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Yea Samantha!

09:12:49 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone: What are the recruitment and sustainability strategies for the Academy

09:13:02 From herstory to Everyone: How can schools and teachers get involved in in the safe neighborhoods/resident leadership program? I teach in the high school alternative school for expelled students and we are relocating to what was previously Brookstown Middle. Our students need supports and we will all benefit from relationships.

09:13:15 From MetroMorphosis Admin to Everyone: Yes, Geno!

09:13:25 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Can't hear Rinaldi

09:13:33 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: We are trying to take on the model of "nothing about us, without us." at the museum. So happy that there are voices being lifted througout our community.

09:14:39 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: That's better. Thank you

09:16:29 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Love that Rodneyna!

09:16:50 From SK Groll to Everyone: Thank you Jazzika!

09:16:59 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Close to one third of the violence in EBRP is domestic violence. There has to be a recognition that preventive interventions are not law enforcement based.

09:18:07 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Say that Ms. Pat!

09:18:14 From MetroMorphosis Admin to Everyone: Yes, to systems change/policy work

09:18:28 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Marlee Pittman

Director of Community Relations

Mid City Redevelopment

09:18:34 From Reginald Brown to Everyone: I have 2 ideas for The Gardere Initiative: Youth Inspired Litter Behavior Modification and "Men in the Park" Community Advisors. Both focus on long term behavioral change. Who can help me develop it: Jazzika, Geno or Marlee or all?

09:18:52 From Manny Patole to Everyone: Speakers for today, Please add your t3 action items that the coalition members can move on or provide resources to help the work move forward

09:18:55 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: it seems like a lot of this comes back to household income. The whole argument about raising the minimum wage to $15 is so insulting because it’s not nearly high enough. Even if zoning laws were changed, and there were financial incentives for developers to put in grocery stores and affordable housing, and local Govs to invest in parks and public spaces, there could still be the perception that money is being “taken” from other neighborhoods and put into these developing neighborhoods that have suffered from the racist legacy that Marlee spoke of. We always talk about how we need to allow people to move to better neighborhoods (and I understand like Rinaldi who doesn’t to leave) What about the opposite? What about announcing a huge push of funding, energy, focus on a blighted neighborhood and then incentivize people of all incomes/backgrounds to move in? Big, dense, new housing with multi-level shopping, parks, public transit, etc… An awesome place to live!

09:19:14 From Kaitlyn Joshua to Everyone: Agreed Pat!!!!

09:20:07 From SK Groll to Everyone: Christopher- totally agree about minimum wage. I worry about the overlap between redevelopment and gentrification in all these conversations

09:20:37 From Jazzika Matthews to Everyone: Jazzika Matthews; 225-242-9161

09:22:33 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: I hear you SK. I’m from DC and it’s extraordinary how much the city has changed. I love the politics but it’s quite expensive now! Yeah, maybe there could be incentives for folks to stay. Not sure, I just always here folks suggest that people would be happy to leave their neighborhoods, but then the actual people that live there say “no thanks!” So wouldn’t want to kick people out, but integrate them - bring in housing opps and connectivity for the city

09:22:47 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: We should get McKayla Smith from Southeastern Legal in this conversation and Adrienne Wheeler from Louisiana Appleseed on this call.

09:23:13 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Can anyone tell me what the definition of affordable is?

09:23:49 From Jazzika Matthews to Everyone: Action Items for Safe Hopeful Healthy: 1. Submit resumes for School Based Outreach Workers; Community Navigators; 2. Share information of Possible High Risk Interventionist

09:24:33 From Marlee Pittman to Everyone: Tenants rights have not been a part of the conversation but need to be!