The diverse neighborhoods of the City of Lancaster are unifying and organizing to improve the quality of life for their communities. They are forming committees, hosting block parties, cleaning up streets, planning public art initiatives, and communicating with neighbors to work together towards common goals. Each of these neighborhood groups have individuals who serve as connectors in their communities. Lancaster City Alliance is proud to shine a spotlight on them here.
Name: Allyson Wells
Neighborhood Group: Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity
Your work as one of the leaders in your Neighborhood Group is important because:
Everyone deserves to have a safe, warm, dry—and most importantly—affordable place to call home. Affordable, stable housing impacts so many crucial factors of life: health, education, economic stability, safety, and self-reliance. I am so grateful to help my community members achieve this otherwise daunting goal of homeownership. In addition to our Homeownership Program, I am also excited to help keep homeowners in their homes through our new Home Repair Program and energize the community through our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts.
Challenges that you are facing in your neighborhood right now:
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity is incredibly grateful to be geographically located within the SoWe neighborhood and I’ve been honored to work arm-in-arm with our fellow organizations in the SoWe Collaborative. Being a Collaborative member has allowed us to expand our Neighborhood Revitalization program; we can now take our Habitat tools and work side-by-side our neighbors (some of which are Habitat homeowners!) to improve the entire neighborhood. A big challenge I see is ensuring that this neighborhood improvement is both equitable and sustained for generations to come.
What are some of the rewards from being a neighborhood connector in your Group:
Every day I am so lucky to feel the rewards of our team’s work—these rewards range from having a nice conversation with a community member while out canvassing, to as monumental as accepting a new family into our Homeownership program.
Can you give a specific example of how your neighborhood has worked together?
Our most recent example was the kickoff celebration to our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts: ROCK THE BLOCK! This event brought together approximately 120 volunteers (many of whom came from the SoWe neighborhood!), 12 repair project homeowners, 6 partner organizations, and a community-wide effort to beautify the neighborhood. While unfortunately the rain kept us from completing the repairs that day (sadly paint and rain don’t mix well), everyone was still incredibly enthusiastic to roll up their sleeves for street cleanup. With our community’s help, we were able to pick up over 80 bags of street trash from SoWe! It was really powerful to facilitate an opportunity to have neighbors helping neighbors.
What is your secret to meeting new neighbors and welcoming them into the community?
Upon entering Lancaster’s nonprofit community, both professionally and personally, I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded with such kind and caring individuals; they never hesitated to make an introduction on my behalf and were always quick to share a warm word of welcome. I strive every day to keep passing on that sentiment and gratitude to my fellow community members!
Favorite way to spend a day with family, or friends in Lancaster City:
While free time is sparse in our double nonprofit household, I love walking around Lancaster City with my husband and our sweet little beagle, Newt. And naturally it goes without saying—THE FOOD!