May 1st marks the start of the third quarter of this second year of project implementation for Hamilton’s North Flint Illuminating Community Change Safety Project. The 13 sub-awardees for the CBCR grant offered an outpouring of support in the IC2 project area that demonstrated resilience, hope and encouragement to residents, community organizations and businesses in north Flint, in spite of the challenges of COVID-19, Resident leaders and community partners alike, rallied to provide support to families in need of bottled water and food, technology support to meet the needs of children and families suddenly faced with remote learning, delivering COVID PPE, as well as making phone calls and drive-through wellness checks while adhering to physical and social distancing regulations.
It was during the height of the pandemic in summer 2020 where the Illuminating Community Change project found new ways to overcome challenges and build collective efficacy in north Flint. IC2 funded partners, in partnership with community programs and local businesses such as City of Flint ReCAST, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Housing Commission, Comcast Internet Essentials and Hasselbring Senior Center brought additional opportunities to promote resident engagement and neighborhood development.
Residents of north Flint are resilient and used to dealing with critical situations. With nearly three decades of economic disinvestment, decrease in number of educational facilities in the community, the Flint Water Crisis, COVID-19 and of course crime and violence; they have celebrated victories such as the soon to open member owned grocery store with the North Flint Food Market- and shared the pain of grief through loss of life due to senseless gun violence.
However, during this final stretch of project implementation, our Flint-Strong partners will continue to Illuminate Community Change in north Flint by enhancing community policing efforts in the IC2 target area. Research teaches us that community policing as a stand-alone does not demonstrate a clear path to crime reduction and prevention efforts (S Kogan, 2006; McGarrell, et al., 1999). In north Flint, the battle against crime and violence is a wide, existential one, calling upon an engaged community and collaborations with law enforcement across the city proper and the IC2 community partners are ready! With an end goal of addressing root causes of crime associated with low resident cooperation with police and low resident collective efficacy, including assaults, robberies, burglaries, vandalism, drug violence and homicide, seven IC2 projects received additional funding for Spring/Summer 2021. Each funded project has incorporated an innovative community policing strategy that will support a diminished Flint Police force and improve strained resident relationships with local law enforcement.
In addition to the 13 originally funded IC2 projects, Hamilton CHN continues to lead the journey in providing innovative, COVID safety-regulated, community-based crime reduction and violence prevention programming in north Flint through the funding awarded for the following projects: (1) Total Life Prosperity, LLC- Always Forward Together; (2) Brownell Holmes Neighborhood Association- Read All About It; Sharp Manor Association- CODE RED; (4) Foss Avenue Block Club- Neighborhood Safety Watch; (5) Crime Stoppers of Flint & Genesee County- Community Policing at River Park Apartments; (6) WOW Outreach- 20th Annual Unity March; and (7) North Flint Neighborhood Action Council- Engaging Joshua.
With just four months remaining, the North Flint Illuminating Community Change CBCR project is reshaping community engagement with unshakable resilience. And will continue to build strength, will and hope to make north Flint a safer, healthier place to live, work and raise families for generations to come.