Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program
Sierra House Entrepreneur Leadership Program (SHELP)
is a community-based volunteer program that operates in partnership with urban schools to teach students business ownership and managerial skills.
The classes will be arranged to portray a business-like environment, and all lessons will use real-life business scenarios. Students will gain social, leadership, decision-making, and business-ownership skills. They will learn how to work together as a team and to develop a solid work ethic. SHELP will inform its students of productive options that are available.
This six-month program will accommodate up to twenty eleventh-grade students. Classes will be held once a month after school or on Saturdays for 1 hour and 30 minutes by arrangement of school personnel at the student’s current school.
The Sierra House’s staff has already coordinated with several schools who wish to offer this program.
The Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program works closely with residents, nonprofits, the City of East Orange, local banks, funders, and housing programs in hopes to reclaim East Orange neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosure and abandonment.
East Orange has some of the lowest home values in New Jersey. Our goal is to support neighborhood stability and to stop the decline of home values by acquiring and redeveloping foreclosed properties that have become sources of abandonment and blight within our communities. Sierra House offers working families the opportunity to own their own homes and renters the opportunity to live in decent, affordable housing. The Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program is a community-driven approach to comprehensive community development that creates impact by strategically investing in and leveraging resources.
A secondary goal is to develop a Neighborhood Plan. The planning process will be instrumental in bringing residents and community partners together, gathering information, identifying primary stakeholders, collecting data via surveys, and forming a steering committee. The steering committee will play a crucial role and will include both renters and homeowners, police officers who patrol the area, civil servants, block association members, business owners, schools and churches, and others parties who have a vested interest in the community.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program is an outcome-based, multi-faceted program that will make a measurable change in East Orange and build sustainable communities. Our approach begins and ends with community engagement. Specifically, the Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program wishes to accomplish the following goals:
1. Increase the number of affordable and market-rate housing units;
2. Expand capital investment in housing and other real estate;
3. Build and rehabilitate vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties;
4. Stimulate economic development;
5. Improve residents' access to quality education and jobs;
6. Develop healthy environments and lifestyles; and
7. Strengthen leadership and civic engagement.
For more information on the Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program, please call Keely Freeman at (973) 678-3556.