Real Estate

Sierra House Announces its Newest Initiative: The Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program


EAST ORANGE, NJ - Keely Freeman, Executive Director of the Sierra House, announced in 2015 that the organization has a new project: The Neighborhood Improvement Program. Recognizing that East Orange is one of the cities hit hard by foreclosures, which resulted in urban blight, vacant lots, abandoned houses, and boarded-up houses and businesses, Keely saw potential. She began working with banks, the City of East Orange, and other nonprofits to seek a way to redevelop properties, invest in the community, bring residents together to initiate change, and create ways to seek improvement.

Bill Hunter who was recruited in late 2015 to assist with the program, organized a stakeholder’s meeting in November of 2015. According to Mr. Hunter, "There are over 250 abandoned properties in Greenwood and of 33 storefronts; only 13 are occupied." 

The primary goal of the Neighborhood Improvement Program is to restore the Greenwood area and to make it one of the best areas in East Orange; with clearly defined borders. Existing housing would be improved and abandoned homes would be reconstructed with innovative environmentally friendly designs. 

Sign Up for E-News

Mr. Hunter remarks, ”Ideally, we would like to attract the 1000 plus city employees, teachers, police, and hospital workers to buy homes in Greenwood and also attract those who commute to New York City and Newark as Greenwood is a far less costly alternative to other places located near train stations. Young first-time homebuyers (millennials) and urban pioneers would also be targeted. East Orange has an excellent police department and the city has effectively reduced crime despite the public perception that the streets are not safe. 

In discussing the retail sector, Mr. Hunter mentioned that "there are no banks or food markets in Greenwood and many other retail outlets, cultural and recreation facilities are needed in the community.” The stakeholders in the community would participate in and promote the neighborhood plan; this would include area residents, the City of East Orange, the police department, merchants, banks, community groups, schools, medical facilities, land developers, and nonprofits. The role of Sierra House in this endeavor is to coordinate community forums, create a Greenwood Neighborhood Plan, raise capital to fund the plan, work with the City of East Orange to gain approval for it, and manage its implementation.

Mr. Hunter revealed that we need approximately $60,000 to execute our plan. He added it is imperative that when individuals purchase homes in Greenwood that they be residents who plan to occupy the homes, as we are trying to change the city pattern of 75% renters and 25% owner occupied.

Sierra House is seeking the support of the community and is asking all residents to participate in the neighborhood plan. Three meetings to promote the Greenwood Neighborhood Plan have taken place, and during the most recent one, five committees were introduced: housing, economic development/ job creation, education/arts/recreation, public safety and events/marketing. 

Please contact Bill Hunter at (973) 678-3556 or via email at if you would like to participate in the neighborhood-planning process.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

6th Annual Sustainable Living Empowerment Conference this Saturday

May 25, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - The 6th Annual Sustainable Living Empowerment Conference will convene this Saturday May 26, 2018 at Elmwood United Presbyterian 135 Elmwood Avenue, East Orange, NJ.

This year’s theme, ‘Building Communities Through Sustainability’ underlies the deep commitment of the City and the special guests panelist poised to bring a ton of knowledge to our community on ...

We Will Rise: Michelle Obama's Mission to Educate Girls Around the World

May 25, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The ladies of Rho Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority are hosting a screening of We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World on Wednesday, May 30th at 7:00 pm at the West Orange Public Library, 46 Mount Pleasant Avenue, West Orange, NJ.   The film takes a journey with global leaders and activists- including former ...

Governor Phil Murphy to Speak at Bloomfield College Commencement

May 15, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The 145th Commencement at Bloomfield College will take place Friday on the 11 acre campus in the heart of Bloomfield at 9:30 a.m. 

The program will include  remarks from honorary degree recipients New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy; Christian McBride, six-time Grammy-winning jazz bassist; and Prof. Deog-Seong Oh, President of Chungnam ...

The Best Stress-Busting Exercises

In the last article, we discussed how to spot bad stress. Now we want to look at some of the best exercises for beating stress. These can be physical and mental exercises.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise relieves stress, increases energy, and enhances mood. It can also help you lose weight and feel great. Any exercise is great if it gets you up and moving, and away from your desk at ...

When Good Stress Becomes Bad Stress

In the last email, we looked at how to set your own goals in life so you do not feel as if things are out of control and that everyone is driving your life except you. Your boss can’t have that kind of stressful power over you if you know you are doing your best and actively adding to your skills all the time.

Your mother can’t pull your strings like a puppet if you cut them and ...

Two Goal-Setting Techniques to Gain Control of Your Life

In the last email, we discussed how keeping a stress journal can help you identify your stressors. Then you can come up with various success strategies for dealing with them.

In this article, we want to discuss one of the most useful things you can use your new stress journal for is goal setting, in order to take control of your own life so you don’t feel as if you are at the mercy of ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, June 15, 7:00 PM

The Van Vleck House and Gardens, Montclair

Taste of the Oranges Soiree

Giving Back

East Orange Mayor Ted Green Recognizes Historic Nurse and New Jersey Hall of Fame Inductee Clara Louise Maass during National Nurses Week

May 25, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - In recognition and appreciation of nurses everywhere, during National Nurses Week, the Honorable Ted Green, Mayor of East Orange, New Jersey will present a proclamation in recognition of historic nurse Clara Louise Maass (1876-1901), a native of East Orange, who was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Maass was officially inducted on Sunday, May 6th.  ...