A community-led revitalization effort that began in 2019 is finally coming to fruition in the West Sunnyslope area.
The Sunnyslope Revitalization Coalition — comprised of members of the First Christian Church, the HUB (Hatcher Urban Businesses), West Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association, along with Councilwoman Debra Stark, City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department and Habitat for Humanity, among others — has been raising funds to bring about positive change in the area.
“We were figuring out how can we make this a long-standing commitment to our neighborhoods,” said Caroline Lobo, co-chair of theHUB, “There are pockets in Sunnyslope that don’t have the basic things like the street infrastructure, trees… When we talk about equity, all the things that would make these communities whole were missing in some of these pockets.”
The current boundaries of the project area are 7th Avenue to 19th Avenue, Mountain View to Shangrila. When they met the initial $200,000 funding to get underway, they began with one service project Oct. 8. Since that time, another $100,000 has been raised, courtesy of Gail and Bob Buuck whose donation of $100,000 brings total up to $300,000 raised for the neighborhood.
“All of the donations will continue to allow us to partner with more families,” said Andrea Northup, assistant director of Sponsor Relations for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, who is spearheading the neighborhood improvements. “Each family that steps forward will pay 10 percent, the donations then subsidize and cover the remaining part of the repair cost, helping the repairs become affordable for the families we partner with.”
The coalition will hold its official kick-off event Oct. 29, when the group of some 100 volunteers will tackle three projects, with another two scheduled for Dec. 3, with another likely to take place in the new year.
During the Oct. 29 event, two homes will undergo paint and landscape repair. Habitat will also team up with the Neighborhood Services Department to conduct alley cleanups.
The overall goal of the project is to serve 13-14 families in total. Northup added that due to the increased cost of construction repairs, funds can go quicker than expected.
“We so appreciate the funds that have been donated, but also invite others to join in on donating as well so that we can serve beyond the 13-14 families,” said Northup.
“This work certainly is not possible without our community partners and donors – and we invite others to join in with us,” she added. “Let’s keep the momentum going!”
Those who would like to give towards the Sunnyslope project can go online to www.habitatcaz.org/donate and select “Sunnyslope” under the “Designation” box to ensure that their funds go towards the neighborhood.
Lobo said that the community organizations want to make this a successful endeavor, to show that, by coming together, they can make change in the community — and she invites others to get involved.
“Simple things like just painting, landscaping, you know, fixing roof leaks and just giving it a facelift…I think it changes the mindset of people that live in that area, then they feel a part of the whole. They feel that people care.”
Community members who would like to lend their time to future projects can sign up at http://vhub.at/ Sunnyslope. All volunteers with Habitat on repair projects must be 14 years and older.