Developing Community Leaders
A Neighborhood Initiative
We're developing a new generation of leaders who are creating self-sufficient communities of their dreams.
In the middle of New Brunswick, the 57-block Esperanza neighborhood serves as the city’s main gateway and port of entry for majority Latino immigrants seeking a better life in the United States. More than even many native-born Americans, immigrants often arrive in communities like Esperanza with an unwavering sense of their American Dream. Whether pushed out of their home countries by violence or pulled by tales of economic opportunity, immigrants carry with them the conviction that their sacrifices will yield a better future in the U.S. for themselves and their children. The name Esperanza – meaning “hope” in Spanish – says it all.
Since 2014, NBT is putting our forty-plus years of social revitalization experience at the service of Esperanza’s immigrant residents and their native-born neighbors through the Esperanza Neighborhood Project. We conduct intensive outreach and leadership development to equip residents to step up as engaged civic leaders, reaching out to thousands of their neighbors and making their voice heard at City Hall. Together we plan and carry out neighborhood improvement strategies and advocacy campaigns on the issues they deem most important. These efforts have resulted in the passage of local ordinances to expand low-wage workers’ rights, promote immigrant inclusion, and tackle abandoned and vacant properties.
1) Empowering Neighborhood Leaders
Intensive outreach and leadership development is equipping Latino community members to step up as engaged civic leaders, reaching out to thousands of their neighbors and making their voice heard at City Hall. Community advocacy has already resulted in the passage of local ordinances to expand low-wage workers’ rights, promote immigrant inclusion, and tackle abandoned and vacant properties.
2) Supporting Families
Our innovative Family Leadership Academy is supporting families in our community to pursue their goals of stability and economic mobility, while saving for a better future. Forty families have graduated thus far, saving a total of over $85,000 and achieving goals in health, education, career, and finances.
3) Equipping Entrepreneurs
Small business technical assistance complemented by joint marketing and creative corridor improvements is taking the neighborhood’s commercial district to the next level as a Latino cultural destination. We are also launching a community marketplace with training available to help community micro-entrepreneurs translate their skills into income-generating businesses.
4) Creating Safe Neighborhoods
Our neighborhoods, in many ways, define our opportunities. When we consider some of New Brunswick’s most chronic challenges – crime and safety, housing, education, and access to care services – opportunities expand or contract depending on how well we address those challenges in specific neighborhoods.
Our goals for the Crime Watch Safety Group include:
- Improve neighborhood cleanliness and aesthetics
- Enhance neighborhood safety
- Remove property blight from neighborhoods
- Increase access and usage of parks & gardens
volunteer residents participating
hours performed in community improvement activities
residents satisfied with neighborhood
Citywide impacts due to resident advocacy:
workers gaining mandatory paid sick time
Municipal IDs issued
vacant properties rehabilitated
Completed cohort sessions
families graduated from FLA
collectively saved for future investment
personal goals completed
Within three years, NBT and our partners in the Housing Collaborative will have substantially impacted dynamics in New Brunswick’s housing market, particularly for LMI and immigrant families in Esperanza and Unity Square, by:
vacant properties registered by the City
of abandoned properties in Esperanza neighborhood rehabilitated or demolished
healthy home assessments conducted
NBT and its partners will have contributed to the growth of local entrepreneurs and small businesses by:
entrepreneur-participants in the Mercado Esperanza marketplace
graduates from the Community Business Academy
new community murals on the French Street corridor
ever French Street business directory and brochure
in funds committed to French Street façade grants