Saturday, December 27, 2008

North End Stories: Nehemiah Housing and Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is the Executive Director of Nehemiah Housing Corporation. His agency works closely with NEAT members, revitalizing the North End through housing.

The North End Action Team and Nehemiah Housing Corporation share much more than office space. In October 1996, the directors of each agency stood side by side in the back yard of a adjacent property, mourning the death of a young man. Residents peered from porches looking on and soon locked themselves inside to protect their children. Building on the hope to end violence and believing in the right for each family to have safe and decent housing, a wide collaboration formed to transform a small neighborhood. NEAT became the voice of the residents, business owners and a variety of stakeholders.

When the residents met, their foremost concern was to transform dilapidated housing into decent homes. They believed that well managed homes would help to create a well managed neighborhood. That was the start of a long and fruitful partnership between NEAT and Nehemiah. Even though NEAT doesn’t build houses, it does help to create homes. For instance, NEAT organizes home-buyer training seminars for first time home buyers, some who may buy the North End homes Nehemiah is rehabilitating. Nehemiah is a community-based development corporation. Like NEAT, the agency exists to serve the community and over the years has worked to help NEAT grow so that the community would have a megaphone for its voice.

Nehemiah continues to be grateful for all the active members of NEAT who form the foundation of the North End. Without NEAT and the many community partnerships that it fosters, the North End would not have come as far as it has, and would not have as much hope for the

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