H&R Block Supports Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program in 11 Communities Nationwide, and Rocks the Block in Kansas City, Kan.
For three years, H&R Block has been helping increase access to quality housing and better neighborhood spaces through local grants and associate volunteerism with Habitat for Humanity International’s network of affiliates. To build on its commitment to Make Every Block Better, H&R Block awarded $300,000 to help fund Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization projects across the nation. One of those projects was a Rock the Block event in the Armourdale neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas.
As we start the new year with a steadfast commitment to community, we reflect on one of our events from last fall. Habitat KC’s Rock the Block events concentrate volunteers on clusters of homes in strategic neighborhoods, making needed repairs of all sizes. The impact is striking but it’s more than just curb appeal that is restored. Rock the Block helps restore pride in homeownership and helps increase community connections along the way. Last fall, nearly 80 H&R Block employee volunteers helped Rock the Block in the Armourdale neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan.
One in 10 Kansas City families spends more than 50 percent of their income on housing. When families spend disproportionately on housing, they are forced to make impossible choices on other basic needs such as food, health care and transportation. Habitat KC believes that every family should have the opportunity to afford, maintain and preserve their home. With the support of a grant from H&R Block, volunteers with Habitat KC, H&R Block, and John Friske Elementary worked alongside residents to improve 16 homes in the Armourdale neighborhood.
“We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with the Armourdale neighborhood residents, John Fiske Elementary and H&R Block on Rock the Block,” said Lindsay Hicks, interim president and CEO of Habitat KC. “Working together we collectively acted and implemented projects that contributed to positive outcomes. We look forward to continuing our partnerships and improving the quality of life for local residents.”
Because neighborhood revitalization is a central part of Habitat KC’s work, H&R Block volunteers worked on a playground rejuvenation project at John Fiske Elementary School.
“Habitat KC and H&R Block revitalized many houses in the Armourdale community, adding beauty, color, and energy,” said John Fiske Elementary Principal Joe W. Graham. “The changes brought much excitement and pride to our students and families. Rock the Block also helped the students at John Fiske Elementary by freshening up our playground. Thanks so much for serving our Lions!”
This project was one of 11 neighborhood revitalization projects H&R Block funded across the nation. The projects were selected based on Habitat for Humanity’s Quality of Life Framework.
- El Dorado, Ark. – Restoring 16 vacant lots into shared outdoor space with benches, garden, paving, and landscaping for collective community use.
- North Central Conn. – Hosting a community resource fair to promote cleanup, assembling multiple playhouses for public use, and beautifying the exterior of five to seven area homes.
- Coastal Fairfield, Conn. – Holding a wall-raising volunteer day for the Habitat CFC Justice House and improving the adjacent neighborhood.
- Central Delaware – Installing 50 video doorbells in targeted Dover community homes during a day-long Rock the Block event, which will include food and refreshments to celebrate community cohesion and foster relationship-building.
- Good News, Ind. – Remodeling two homes and creating a new neighborhood garden in the Fairview neighborhood.
- Kansas City, Kan. – Hosting a Rock the Block event in the Armourdale neighborhood to help homeowners with minor exterior home repairs, including painting, porch repair and landscaping, and revitalizing the neighborhood elementary school playground.
- Truman Heritage, Mo. – Constructing a community “backyard” at the newly opened Englewood Arts Center to create a permanent greenspace for local gatherings and outdoor public arts programming during a Rock the Block event.
- Albuquerque, N.M. – Building six new homes alongside low-income individuals and families in a transitional neighborhood in need of revitalization.
- Sioux Falls, S.D. – Funding material costs for home repairs and community beautification of parks and gathering spaces.
- Memphis, Tenn. – Landscaping a local neighborhood to prevent sidewalk overgrowth and soil erosion and installing 50 video doorbell cameras in residences and businesses.
- Houston, Texas – Re-establishing the Umland Park Community Association to create a base for communal financial support, beautifying vacant lots to create a shared gathering space, and initiating a shed building program for exterior storage for the community.
“One of our top organizational goals is to improve connections within communities nationwide,” said H&R Block’s Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Jill Cress. “When we support community revitalization efforts, we help improve the quality of life for our neighbors.”
H&R Block’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity is part of its community impact platform, Make Every Block Better, which launched in December 2019. Through this effort, H&R Block is focused on reducing isolationism in communities across the United States by fostering more conversations between neighbors and improving the places and spaces where neighbors convene.
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