We were so happy to present our first post-pandemic Open House this March! After such a long hiatus, it felt amazing to be able to showcase the work of FCS and our neighbors in the community of Historic South Atlanta. Throughout the two days, we were able to welcome leaders, practitioners, and innovators from around the country to learn from the exceptional staff and neighbors working hard to ensure flourishing in our community.
During the Open House, we shared how our neighbors are literally building up the community. When the neighborhood first came to FCS, the area was 90% rental properties and families were paying cash every week – many to predatory lenders. Now, the area includes 60% homeownership with about 200 affordable home units. When more neighbors own property, the result is an increase in economic vitality, better school retention, decrease in stress and other housing-related outcomes. In the short term, it also helps increase and stabilize ownership levels, reduces vacancy and blight, increases social cohesion, and attracts businesses.
As the Open House participants learned about the nuts and bolts of our process to place-based work, there was a lot of excitement. David noted that the approach is counter cultural – it’s “not just place-based; it’s people based.” Attendees from City Fields noted the importance of hearing from neighbors during our Neighbor Panel, emphasizing that the connection to community leaders was refreshing and empowering.
Overall, it was an incredible opportunity to share and encourage other communities to begin the important work of encouraging flourishing in their own neighborhoods.