2008 MetLife Awards: Parkis Avenue/North Elmwood Revitalization

Local Initiatives Support Corporation
The partnership between Greater Elmwood Neighborhood Services and the Providence Police Department is focused on the revitalization of dilapidated historic homes on Parkis Avenue and North Elmwood in Providence, RI. This block is home to approximately 100 very low-income households and the area previously harbored significant trade in illegal drugs and prostitution, accompanied by frequent assaults. Many neighbors had grown angry and distrustful; some participated in the unsafe behavior, while others had become indifferent, assuming that their dangerous environment was synonymous with life in an inner-city neighborhood. The objective of the community-police partnership was to restore safety to the area and simultaneously create healthful, affordable, environmentally friendly and well maintained homes. Through a comprehensive revitalization process, partners began to share knowledge and build appreciation for mutual interests and roles in holistic community development. Through this collaboration, community organizers have learned about the power of interactive neighborhood mapping; police have learned about the complexities of development finance; parole officers have learned about challenges of providing affordable housing to parolees; and the work has demonstrated that outcomes for the neighborhood can multiply through well facilitated community-police-parole-data analysis. In addition to these achievements, GENS and the Providence Police Department have done groundbreaking work around housing returning former offenders.
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