Since its inception, the Beacon of Hope has grown to meet the needs of communities affected by disaster. While most recovery efforts were directed at physical rebuilding, the Beacon of Hope recognized that societal rebuilding and human connectivity were also needed if neighborhoods were to return in a vital and sustainable manner. By providing resources, information, tools and volunteers, the Beacon of Hope Resource Center has enabled individuals to take an active role in their own personal recovery, and the rebuilding and recovery of their neighborhoods and their city. The ultimate goal is to repopulate devastated neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life of residents who have returned by developing viable neighborhoods therefore, creating sustainable communities.
Beacon of Hope created an easy to use data collection process that enables resident led teams to collect property condition and infrastructure issues. This data has been used by neighborhood teams to create redevelopment strategies, coordinate visiting volunteers, address homeowner needs, and track the overall recovery of their communities. In many cases, local governments have been able to merge the neighborhood data with municipal data sets further assisting redevelopment initiatives.
Outreach into communities is most effective when rebuilding and volunteer coordination is a collaborative effort between rebuilding agencies and community or civic association groups. Data collected by resident teams has proven beneficial to many nonprofits providing resources and to government agencies during the planning processes.
Beacon of Hope has created programs that have fast tracked economic and residential growth by utilizing small and large community events that support the returning businesses and showcase the viability of the neighborhood.
These community events create a diversion from the resident’s rebuilding and boost community moral.
Beacon of Hope helps communities establish resident led teams to address quality of life issues, and establish appropriate communication tools so that residents can stay connected and informed. An engaged community is better able to determine neighborhood needs, and take on tough social, environmental and economic challenges facing them. Neighborhood involvement goes hand in hand with safer streets, less crime, a healthy local economy and a thriving volunteer sector. An established line of communication allows communities to prepare and react quicker to emergencies or natural disasters.
Beacon of Hope works with neighborhood associations to help residents who may not have been previously active within the community build strong leadership skills.
Beacon of Hope trains resident leaders on how to understand the policies of local, state, and federal agencies. Understanding these processes and procedures, residents are better able to work with these agencies and advocate for their community’s needs.