CommunityCare Homewood

Recognizing the need to fill an existing gap in public services and offset barriers to community participation, Grounded initially piloted the CommunityCare program in Homewood in 2017 to investigate what motivates and sustains individual participation in environmental stewardship activities. Homewood is home to more than 1,300 vacant lots, creating urgency to transform these spaces into healthy and safe assets for the community. Noting the limits to traditional approaches of volunteerism (like time costs for volunteers and technical knowledge), CommunityCare adapts the model by recognizing, rewarding, and equipping residents so they can participate as community stewards.

Grounded designed the CommunityCare program alongside the Homewood program participants to integrate meaningful financial incentives that truly offset the time burden of stewardship activities. The program operates seasonally, with maintenance activities occurring from May-October, and training and education sessions happening in the winter and spring months. Feedback over several cohorts of stewards has strengthened the program: now stewards care for more visible “gateway” lots in their communities, carry business cards to recruit future stewards, and mark adopted spaces with signs that demonstrate their pride in their work while deterring future littering. 

CommunityCare looks different in every community based on the needs of the participants and the activities that have been prioritized by neighborhood goals and plans. In Homewood, the community stewards are highly visible and active in their neighborhood. They complete maintenance activities to stabilize pedestrian walkways and report illegal dumping. In a way, they act as the enforcers of hypervacancy reduction, working to change the root causes of systematized disinvestment.

Homewood Stewards

Charmaine McDonald
Michelle Jackson
Beverly Howell
Khadijah Bey
Clarissa Wilder
Tayler Clemm
Diann Alexander