Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA)

Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA)

Jubilee Fund Helps Rebuild Neighbourhood One House at a Time

Only a few years ago, the once proud neighbourhoods of inner city Winnipeg were the subject of weekly headlines about falling property values, arson and an explosion of gangs. Today many of those neighbourhoods are undergoing a kind of residential resurrection, through the efforts of dedicated neighbourhood associations – and with a little help from The Jubilee Fund.

One of those is the Spence Neighbourhood Association. Since its inception in 1997, the Association and its many volunteers have worked hard to revitalize the area bounded by Portage Avenue, Notre Dame Avenue, Agnes Street, and Balmoral Street.

Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA)

They started a small local newspaper to highlight the positive things people were doing in the neighbourhood; they organized block parties where neighbours could get to know each other; and they turned their attention to the dozens of boarded-up houses and empty lots that were becoming an ugly blight on the area and a source of danger for area residents.

Salvageable boarded-up houses are being renovated. With the help of neighbourhood volunteers, the Association began cleaning up weed-covered abandoned lots, converting them into community gardens and welcoming green spaces.

The changes are already making a difference. The gang problem is not the problem it was. And people who come to the area “see the little garden lots and green spaces and think this is a place where people really look after their neighbourhood.” Indeed it is. Most community gardens and green spaces have been “adopted” by their immediate neighbours. They keep the grass cut and, in some cases, even have put in little tables and benches where neighbours and local workers gather for coffee.

Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA)

But Spence residents also dream of new neighbours: seeing new, affordable housing units rising up on some of those empty lots. Their dreams are being realized. Through a program called “Four New Houses”, the Association built four houses in 2003 that were sold very quickly. The new construction was made possible through bridge financing from the Jubilee Fund.

www.spenceneighbourhood.org