EAST ORANGE, NJ- Saturday October 15th, 2016, more than 350 East Orange residents attended the 1st Annual Greenwood Community Street Festival hosted by Sierra House and the Ampere Civic Association. It was unquestionably a productive event that allowed the community to come together, interact with local business owners, engage in fun-filled activities, and listen to music; it also allowed Sierra House to collect valuable data through the distribution of surveys.

According to Sierra House Executive Director Keely Freeman, “the goal of the Greenwood Street Festival was to obtain information that would serve as a guide for making future community development decisions related to housing, education, public safety, jobs, and economic development, which was accomplished." 

At the event, Sierra House collected 259 surveys featuring important information about the community, such as the community's needs, interest in purchasing homes, basic demographics, and interest in developing the Greenwood section of East Orange. A quick synopsis of the data received from the surveyed East Orange residents reveals that in education, 29% have a college degree, 19% earn  from $40k-$60k annually, 66% have never been married, 78% work full-time, 64% would purchase a home in Greenwood if rebuilt, 66% face barriers such as no down payment and low credit scores, and most importantly, 61% are motivated to be a part of the Greenwood Revitalization Committee. The survey also revealed that 85% would use the Ampere train station if it were reopened.

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"This is just the beginning," says Bill Hunter, Sierra House development manager. Sierra House is actively working to revitalize Greenwood and has already begun to hold community meetings and other key meetings to ignite change. Without the support of dedicated sponsors, including but not limited to ProudLiving, WillDog Property Preservation & Management, the East Orange Police Department, East Orange City Hall, and E. Klein, this event would not have been as successful. Sierra House is thankful for the support of the city, and local businesses are looking forward to community participation and revitalization.

ABOUT SIERRA HOUSE

Founded in 2002, Sierra House, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to improving achievements among youth, low-to-moderate income families, and the homeless through housing, education, and community services, which will thereby contribute to the long-term stability of our community. Our programs provide enriching life experiences that encourage and challenge youth to excel in their development, support neighborhood stabilization, and encourage homeownership. For more information, please visit our website at www.sierrahouse.org.