Based on the Photovoice concept, which helps those who are often unheard gain a voice, Voices Behind the Bricks is designed to help guide the transformation the Marina Vista and Alder Grove neighborhoods from a youth perspectiveAn invitation-only event to unveil the photography exhibit, Voices Behind the Bricks, is being held Saturday, February 14 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Cemo Room (first floor) at the Crocker Art Museum, 216 “O” Street.Sponsored by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) and Mercy Housing California (MHC), Voices Behind the Bricks is based on the Photovoice concept, which melds photography with grass roots social action. Fifteen Marina Vista and Alder Grove neighborhood teens spent four months in this after-school program photographing their community to convey its current assets and challenges and their hopes for how their neighborhood can be transformed. Each participating teen chose two photographs from their part of the project, did their own matting and framing, and will be part of the short program starting at 10:30 a.m. during this Valentine’s-Day V.I.P. event. The exhibit will be open to the public Saturday, February 14 from noon – 5 p.m., and Sunday, February 15 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Voices Behind the Bricks is part of the Upper Land Park – Broadway Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in which residents are helping to craft a Neighborhood Transformation Plan (NTP) for the revitalization of Marina Vista, Alder Grove, and the surrounding area. The NTP is funded by a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant. It was awarded late in 2013 to the City of Sacramento Housing Authority and is being administered by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Sacramento is one of only nine communities nationwide that received the grant, and the only Housing Authority in California that received this funding.“The Voices Behind the Bricks project has allowed the youth who live in Marina Vista and Alder Grove to play a very important role in planning our redevelopment strategy for this community, which includes a resident focus as well as housing and neighborhood components,” said SHRA Executive Director La Shelle Dozier. “We’re very proud of these teens for the time and effort they’ve invested to creatively express their views and perspectives which will help shape their future neighborhood.”Choice Neighborhoods, an Obama Administration program through HUD, is designed to change troubled neighborhoods into safe and thriving communities that offer high quality schools, services and housing. The NTP developed through the Choice Neighborhoods Planning program will complement and draw upon existing planning and design efforts of the adjacent Northwest Land Park Planned Unit Development and will be created in partnership with existing community residents, local stakeholders and partner organizations who will provide technical expertise to various aspects of the plan including, but not limited to, urban design, education and youth empowerment, food access, transportation and mobility, services and employment.Part of the proposed Marina Vista – Alder Grove Plan, which is expected to be completed by November 2015, is to redevelop the existing fully occupied complexes to create new affordable housing rental apartments (to replace existing public housing) in vibrant mixed-use and mixed-income communities serving households with a wide range of incomes. Together SHRA, MHC and Related California are leading the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning effort.
PHOTOGRAPHS / INTERVIEW OPPRORTUNITIES:All fifteen Voices Behind the Bricks student photographers will be available at the V.I.P. reception to be photographed with their work and to be interviewed. Tyrone Roderick Williams, SHRA Development Director; Ashlei Baker Hurst, Voices Behind the Bricks Project Director on behalf of Mercy Housing, and Erik Krengel, Resident Services Manager with Mercy Housing, will also be available for interviews.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION:About Mercy HousingMercy Housing California (MHC) is the largest regional division of national nonprofit Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI), a developer of permanent affordable housing and the largest nonprofit affordable housing owner in the country. Headquartered in Denver and founded in 1981, MHI’s mission is to create stable, vibrant, and healthy communities by developing, financing and operating affordable, program-enriched housing for families, seniors and people with special needs who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities.To date, with a presence in 41 states and 200+ cities, MHI has developed, preserved and financed more than 45,800 affordable homes nationwide, both rental and single family, serving more than 152,600 adults and children on any given day.Statewide, Mercy Housing California has developed more than 123 rental properties across 36 counties. Mercy Housing California maintains offices in San Francisco, West Sacramento and Los Angeles. Through the provision of safe, service-enriched housing, MHC strives to strengthen families and build healthy communities. For more information, please visit www.mercyhousingcalifornia.org.
About the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment AgencySHRA (www.shra.org) is a Joint Powers Authority created by the City and County of Sacramento to represent both jurisdictions for affordable housing and community redevelopment needs. SHRA has a FY 2015 budget of $184 million and 225 employees. The Agency owns and manages 3,144 units of public housing and is one of the largest landlords in Sacramento. SHRA also administers approximately 12,000 rental assistance vouchers per month. SHRA uses a variety of financing tools to expand housing opportunities by rehabilitating and preserving older properties, building new rental and ownership housing, and boosting homeownership through mortgage assistance. SHRA has assisted in the production of more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the past 20 years. The Agency works proactively creating permanent supportive housing with social service partners for the hardest to house, and finding solutions to uplift disenfranchised communities.
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