Resident Charter: Power to the Community

 

Historically, residents in distressed neighborhoods are ignored when external groups decide to implement programs or projects that will impact their lives and well-being. Whether the project is initiated by a nonprofit’s desire to secure a grant to “fix” a localized problem or a developer who hopes to repurpose a neighborhood asset or gentrify an area, this action will have an impact on individual families, community cohesion, safety and property. While it is true that many of these proposals may be very well intended, too often they have been done to the community and not with the community.

To address this and ensure that the desires of residents are always incorporated into place-based decision-making, the Muskegon Heights Neighborhood Council has developed a Resident Charter. This Charter articulates a process that ensures that before any final decision is made that will impact a neighborhood, that residents will have the ability to meet, review and offer input on what is being proposed.

This process is designed to change the power dynamic from one where residents do not have a voice to one where residents can actively reflect on how a project might impact their families and neighborhood and then offer or withhold their support. The Resident Charter ensures that outside groups take a step back before moving ahead on a new program or initiative and work in true and equitable partnership with those most affected.

To learn more about the Muskegon Heights Resident Charter and how such a tool can serve as a means for grassroots empowerment, please use the form on the Get Involved page to contact us.