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CURS Senior Research Associate Michael Webb (second from right) meets with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity staff.
CURS Research Director Michael Webb (second from right) meets with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity staff.

Organizations across the U.S. are exploring innovative ways to revitalize neighborhoods and improve residents’ quality of life. One such organization is Habitat for Humanity International, a leader in building affordable housing for low-income families since 1976. It has recently expanded its efforts beyond homebuilding to include fostering community revitalization in cities across the country.

Supporting Habitat’s work is its innovative Quality of Life framework—a holistic approach that will guide revitalization efforts done through collaborations between local Habitat affiliates and other local non-profits.

CURS Senior Research Associate Michael Webb (far left) with staff from the Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity.
CURS Research Director Michael Webb (far left) with staff from the Greater Muncie, Indiana Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat has engaged a collaborative team of researchers from UNC’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies and Community Science, a DC-based non-profit research firm, to evaluate early impacts of Habitat’s neighborhood revitalization work in ten cities. This evaluation will examine both how the neighborhoods are changing and the experience of local Habitat affiliates implementing the Quality of Life Framework. The evaluation team will also provide technical assistance, as needed, to local Habitat affiliates.

The research team recently submitted the Baseline Report to Habitat. Research Director Michael Webb and Research Associate Molly Gaskin analyzed baseline neighborhood indicators—such as crime and homeownership rates, school quality and transit access—in the 10 neighborhoods where Habitat affiliates are implementing the Quality of Life framework. The research team will track changes in these indicators to see how the neighborhoods are changing.

Webb also conducted site visits to three of these neighborhoods to discuss the process of implementing the Quality of Life framework with Habitat staff and their community partners.

Going forward, the evaluation team will continue to assist Habitat affiliates as they implement the Quality of Life framework in their communities.

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