When Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity decided to build sixteen townhouses on South Marshall Street, they approached Immanuel Congregational Church to ask whether we would convene an interfaith group of faith communities to help raise the funding necessary to build one house to be called a House of Faith. Letters were sent out to the churches and other faith communities in the immediate area, as well as to those congregations who supported a similar effort in the North End several years ago. Meeting in September, 2011, the group quickly realized that we needed to do more than build a house. We needed to build a community, a community that would enhance the lives of old and new residents alike in the neighborhood south of Farmington Avenue.
Over the fall of 2011 direct personal contacts were made by members of Immanuel Church with both the Karen refugees, living in a building on the south end of the street, as well as with the residents of Marshall House, a family shelter also on Marshall Street. Letters were sent to several other community organizations to enlist their ideas and support for addressing some of the broader needs of the area. Through the help of Habitat staff, especially Don Shaw, contacts were made with various city agencies that provide much needed direct services and coordination.
The group continues to meet monthly and includes over 50 members representing 30 organizations. We are not a neighborhood association, but in fact work closely with the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association. We are more like a network of individuals, faith communities, non-profits, commercial housing groups, and government agencies. While continuing to raise funds and plan interfaith events, we are also finding ways to increase our relationships with the residents. Immanuel has several ways for people to participate (see bulletin boards and related articles), and your ideas are always welcome.
Contact Russ Feroe at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information