But if you're on a low income, home repair and improvement projects are often sidelined so you can feed and clothe your family. In a low income neighborhood, this means many houses on a single street will show the need for care. People riding through think to themselves, "This neighborhood's really going downhill." It doesn't help if you have abandoned properties in the same block.
This is why the proposed plan by Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County is so good for Norristown. Their project will, over the next 2 years, repair and rehabilitate more than 40 homes on Cherry Street, between Chestnut and Spruce.
Habitat for Humanity's focus is on the neighborhood and the residents. Marianne Lynch, executive director of Montco's Habitat, in a statement to the Times Herald, said, “We are shifting our mission to help homeowners stay in their homes. We are a catalyst for the neighborhood to improve...." In addition, Habitat will try to acquire abandoned properties in the project area, to rehab them and sell them on the open market.
Someone is bound to say I shouldn't compare Habitat to for-profit developers. That's it's comparing apples to oranges. But my point is that the Habitat approach--simply taking what we have and improving it---is more in keeping with the part of Norristown's Comprehensive Plan dealing with preserving our look. Somehow though, when developers come in saying we need modern makeovers in our town, no one will say no to them.
|Habitat in N-town, 2008.|
I'm happy to say that Council unanimously endorsed the project, and agreed to help in any way they could