United Neighborhoods

Transforming neighborhoods from the inside out

In 2021, Metro United Way announced a new, place-based approach focused on specific neighborhoods within our 7-county region. Our neighborhood model prioritizes resident-driven priorities, strategies and solutions for investment, and understands that sustained neighborhood change requires listening to residents, authentic relationship-building, significant investment, and a long-term commitment. The California neighborhood in Jefferson County is the first neighborhood selected by Metro United Way…but it won’t be the last! Over time, we hope to scale the United Neighborhoods approach to other neighborhoods across our seven county region.

Efforts so far include:

  • We focused our 2022 Day of Action’s Jefferson County projects to all take place in the California neighborhood.

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  • Five listening sessions with local residents from youth to seniors

  • In partnership with New Directions Housing Corporation, over $150,000 invested in home repairs of 16 resident-occupied homes

  • Sponsorship of local community engagement events in the California neighborhood

  • Cleaning up and refurbishing the California Square Senior Center complex

Real Stories

  • Mrs. Marzette (pictured left) has lived in her home on Greenwood Avenue since 1969 and currently has three generations living with her. She hopes to pass her home to her youngest daughter (also pictured) when the time comes. With a new roof funded by Metro United Way, and a repaired air conditioning unit and new bathroom funded by Metro United Way partner New Directions, she now has a safer, more accessible home.
  • Mr. Jones is a professional musician and gospel singer in his 60s who hasn’t been able to perform since experiencing heart and breathing issues. When the contractor arrived at his house on Osage Avenue, he discovered that the home had a dangerous backdraft in the rear of the home causing a slow, but dangerous carbon monoxide leak. Since it’s been fixed, his health has improved and he reports that he’s breathing so much better and can’t wait to get back to work to sing again.

Future plans include:

  • Supporting the development of a California neighborhood Youth Advisory Board and neighborhood youth action committees

  • Continued investment in resident home repairs

  • Organizing volunteer projects as part of Metro United Way’s Day of Action on September 23, 2022 that support the California neighborhood

  • Developing a United Neighborhoods framework that can be used as a roadmap for scaling this place-based investment model to other neighborhoods in our seven county region

  • Strategic plan for sustained investments in United Neighborhoods



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