My name is Matthew Adair and I’ll be working with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Columbus as a 2011 Fellow for The Columbus Foundation. I am extremely grateful to have received this opportunity to further my career aspirations in the nonprofit and/or public service sectors. I anticipate a summer of learning and dedication.
Today was my first day working with Michelle, my supervisor, at the Habitat office. Michelle is the program director of Habitat in Columbus and she completed all of the groundwork for my position. We discussed the basics of the organization and got into some detail about my task for the summer. Formally, I will be the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) Coordinator. The NRI, as far as I know from the first day on the job, is a pilot program passed down from Habitat International to be tested in Columbus. Habitat/I will be going in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood of Columbus to completed asset-based assessments of the community’s physical and human capital. This includes door-to-door work to gather details regarding homeownership and rentals. Reports of parcels in the neighborhood will include anything from aesthetic conditions to environmental risks.
The NRI is a new program that needs to be communicated clearly to the Milo-Grogan community. Habitat has a reputation for moving into neighborhoods and slapping up new homes. This initiative, however, is not about home construction. The NRI will be a comprehensive report on the status of the Milo-Grogan neighborhood, its positive aspects, and its areas in need of improvement. Habitat will be conducting community meetings to serve as a forum for residents to express their concerns and opinions about Habitat’s presence. The organization needs to be a true partner in the betterment of the neighborhood, not an external force mandating change.
My goals for the summer? Be a sponge. As I told Michelle today, any meeting I can tag along to would be a great opportunity for me to be a fly on the wall. Even outside of my assigned task for the summer fellowship, I want to learn all I can about government/community/nonprofit partnerships. I want to learn the language of housing policy and understand the real issues facing low-income urban neighborhoods. I cannot imagine a better organization to have been placed with for the summer.