13 News takes part in a day of caring for a Strong Neighborhoods - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

13 News takes part in a day of caring for a Strong Neighborhoods House

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Today,13 News took part in a media day of caring with The United Way of Rock River Valley. 

Local media worked together to clean up the inside of one of the United Way's Strong Neighborhoods Houses. The house is on 8th Avenue and will be a safe haven for residents in the Midtown Neighborhood.

"The Strong Neighborhoods House is a house that is developed for programming for the residents in the area, so police officers will have office hours here," Ashley Burks, the neighborhood impact manager says. "This is a partnership with the Rockford Police Department and Zion Development, and then United Way would do programming out of this house."

Linda Sandquist is the Vice President of United Way of Rock River Valley. She says they did some research on other communities that have similar projects going on, one not too far away in Wisconsin.

"In Racine, they embed the police officers in the neighborhood in neighborhood houses and what it's done is reduced crime and increased resident engagement in what's going on in the neighborhood," Sandquist says.

They are taking it a step further for the Rockford residents, bringing resources that might not otherwise be available.

"A great example would be child care subsidies," Sandquist says. "You need to go out to the YWCA on East State Street to sign up for child care subsidies. If you don't have transportation or if you have little transportation, that would make it very difficult to access that service."

They are working on bringing those services to the house a few days a week.

Residents even came by Wednesday morning saying they think it's great for the area. Some have been around for many years and say they have seen crime rise. They are hoping the Strong Neighborhoods House will help it fall back down again.

The United Way hopes to have the Midtown Strong Neighborhoods House up and running by the end of October.

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