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Each city will receive $100,000 and expert help from Cities of Service to quell the negative impact of abandoned and deteriorating properties.
Cities of Service has selected eight U.S. cities that will each receive a $100,000 grant from its 2021 Love Your Block grant program that helps urban and rural localities struggling with the negative impact of abandoned and deteriorating properties.
The winners are:
- Albany, New York
- El Paso, Texas
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Jackson, Tennessee
- Nashua, New Hampshire
- Salt Lake City
- Shawnee, Oklahoma
- White Plains, New York
The cities will receive their grant over a two-year span. Cities of Service will also provide free of charge up to two members of AmeriCorps VISTA, a service program designed to help alleviate poverty, and technical assistance from its staff.
Using a citizen engagement model, Cities of Service cities partner with local residents, city agencies and community organizations to identify priority challenges that can be addressed with help from people living there. The organization was founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In 2009, Cities of Services created the Love Your Block program to help mayors and city chief executives struggling with vacant buildings. Cities of Service says it has helped nearly 50 cities through the Love Your Block program, with some 26,000 community members working to improve more than 3,500 community spaces. The cities created nearly 750 art displays, cleaned 98,000 square feet of graffiti, removed 6 million pounds of trash and much more, according to Cities of Service.
This year, the winning cities include dense urban areas and rural communities with populations ranging from 31,000 to more than 600,000. Each city will take a variety of approaches to combating blight, including environmental cleanups, exterior home repairs, creating community greenspace and reactivating vacant lots/public spaces, according to Cities of Service.
In 2018, Buffalo was named one of 10 winners of the Love Your Block grant. Buffalo has worked to reduce crime, eliminate blight and provide social services with the help of AmeriCorps members, citizen volunteers and community-based organizations, according to Cities of Service.
For more information about the program click here.
Andre Claudio is assistant editor of Route Fifty.