Project Building Community

Building Community Photo 1

 Project Building Community

Need: Many low-income neighborhoods in Jerusalem are characterized by rows of housing complexes that have deteriorated substantially. Public spaces, entry ways, gardens, stairwells, as well as the apartments themselves are in desperate need of refurbishing. But the residents need organizational, financial and physical assistance to create change.  

Response: The “Building Community” (Kehila Bona) project is a grassroots approach to community rejuvenation and development by and for the neighborhood. The local community center, residents and outside volunteers build, fix, paint and plant, improving the physical state of properties and, in the process, creating a new and vibrant community of hundreds of involved citizens who become committed to neighborhood development – and to one another. The result is not only enhanced physical space but the establishment of Tenant Associations, improvement of the local economy, and the forging shared responsibility – in short, the Building of a Community. The project has been highly successful in the Stern St. area of Kiryat Hayovel; the Jerusalem Foundation now seeks to expand to other areas of Kiryat Hayovel and the Katamonim neighborhood.

Populations Served: Jerusalem’s low-income neighborhoods

Impact: The double-meaning inherent in the project's name is intentional. By working together to physically improve their neighborhood, residents build and improve physical space but also strengthen their shared sense of community. The project has been operational in Kiryat Yovel (population 22,000), where:

•             Over 1,000 residents benefitted directly from this renovation process

•             25 run-down apartments of disadvantaged residents were renovated

•             14 stairwells and shared open spaces in large housing projects were refurbished

•             13 new lawns and gardens planted

•             Engaged and caring tenants associations were established

•             Partnerships forged with the local welfare office, the Community Council, and outside organizations

•             Resources were raised from local businesses to improve local sustainability