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Who We Are: Located in LaGrange, GA, the Hillside neighborhood once was a thriving mill village. Changes in the textile industry and housing demands left a shell of the former community. After decades of disinvestment, Hillside was in need of revitalization.  In 2003, D.A.S.H. (Dependable Affordable Sustainable Housing) for LaGrange began purchasing substandard properties owned by absentee landlords. Since 2003, D.A.S.H. has eliminated 132 substandard structures through rehabilitation or demolition and has started the process of reviving the neighborhood.

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Paint The Town project was implemented by DASH
Volunteers help low-income homeowners paint their homes
Volunteers help low-income homeowners paint their homes
Hillside Fun Fest celebrates the community
Hillside Fun Fest celebrates the community
 

Neighborhood revitalization generally conjures up visions of physical improvements – bricks and mortar and landscaping. The sustainability of these improvements over time, however, is largely dependent on the people who live in the community and who are invested in its future. In 2012, DASH began implementing Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) strategies within the Hillside neighborhood. The goal is to discover and mobilize the resources of a community and build relationships that can bring about holistic change. Residents have united around common interests and concerns since the new approach began, but DASH is eager to widen the circle of engagement to include all members of the neighborhood to reflect better and celebrate the community’s rich diversity.

before afterBefore and after pictures of neighborhood revitalization

What We Do: Starting in July 2016, DASH will launch the Hillside Roving Listeners Program in the Hillside Neighborhood. The Roving Listeners program will be designed to maximize input from diverse voices. The team will intentionally work to encourage residents from areas of the neighborhood that have not been active to have a voice in the planning of neighborhood activities and initiatives, and ultimately in the future of their community. Isolation is the greatest challenge facing every  group or community that has been marginalized by their race, economic class, gender, or disability. The project aims to unify these residents holistically and by doing so uncover leaders in the Hillside community. The listening experience intends to widen the circle  of influence continuously by asking the question, “Whose gifts and voice are missing?” which mandates that safe places for trust to be built. Click h ere to visit our website.
 
For more information about DASH and the Hillside Roving Listeners Project, please contact Director of Community Development, Ben Wheeler

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