Haverhill’s Mount Washington Alliance team received a three-year, $475,000 Working Cities Challenge grant to close the social and economic "opportunity gap" between the Mount Washington neighborhood and the rest of the city. The team initially set out to take on an array of neighborhood problems, but as they spoke with residents, they recognized that resident engagement and leadership was essential to any lasting change. As a result, the Mount Washington Alliance is focused on building a sustainable, thriving, and connected neighborhood where residents lead effective civic and community changes to ensure equity and a better quality of life for all residents, families, and children in Haverhill.
Haverhill's strength and unity is diminished by a social and economic “opportunity gap” between the Mount Washington neighborhood and the rest of Haverhill. Mount Washington, which is home to about 7,500 residents, has the lowest home-ownership rate, the highest crime rate, and the highest unemployment rate of any neighborhood in the city. The neighborhood also lacks amenities, particularly places where residents can connect with one another.
As the Mount Washington Alliance tested strategies to improve the neighborhood, the team realized lasting change would depend on resident engagement and leadership. As a result, the team’s strategies have evolved to focus explicitly on:
- Deepening the partnership between families and the Haverhill Public Schools by encouraging families to attend and actively participate in meetings of school Site Councils, the Parent Teacher Organization, and other stakeholders
- The community engagement and leadership development that takes place during Neighbor Nights, skill-building workshops, community improvement projects, and on the Mount Washington Alliance governing board (which includes resident leaders)
- Place-based initiatives that improve physical conditions in the neighborhood, like a makerspace or a new park. These types of projects help residents and organizations expand their networks and secure needed resources, and they provide the community with new places to meet and find opportunities.
- Building awareness and engagement around racial and socioeconomic equity through Community Allied for Racial Equity (CARE), a new citywide strategy based on lessons learned during the first three years of the initiative
The Mount Washington Alliance envisions a sustainable, thriving, and connected neighborhood where residents lead civic and community changes that ensure equity and a better quality of life for all of Haverhill’s residents, families, and children.
- Residents of Mt. Washington
- City of Haverhill
- Community Action, Inc.
- Fantini Bakery
- Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce
- Haverhill Public Schools
- YWCA of Northern Massachusetts
- Northern Essex Community College
- Rehoboth Lighthouse Full Gospel Church
- MakeIT Haverhill/Urban Kindness