From: THRIVE: Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments

Shreveport/Bossier Community Renewal (SBCR) is an effort to rebuild the social bonds within the Shreveport region of Louisiana , a low-income area with high crime rates. The theory upon which the project is founded is that building these relationships, and thereby strengthening community, is the only way that "society [can] realize the true sense of community that is necessary to make everything else work...."[1]

In 1992, SBCR founder/coordinator, Mack McCarter began meeting and building relationships with other Shreveport residents. McCarter had wanted to do something about the racial tensions and the resulting social problems within Shreveport , but wasn't clear on how to go about accomplishing this. Through partnering with the Black community, business, social and church leaders as well as other community residents, McCarter, began to understand that the how was through building relationships among neighborhood residents to create a "true" community. According to McCarter, "If there is no intentional methodology to connect people, we cannot assume it will happen." SBCR's methodology is comprised of 3 parts. 1) The Renewal Team that consists of individuals who register project volunteers 2) The Haven House Plan, which is a strategy for increasing the social cohesion on a neighborhood block 3) Internal Care Units, or Friendship Houses that are located within low-income neighborhoods. SBCR staff and their families live in these houses and develop relationships with other neighborhood residents through the offering of services out of their homes ranging from structured after-school programs to health care services.

Since its inception, SBCR has accomplished the following outcomes: 1) Fostered relationships between the faith community, business, universities, health care providers, community-based organizations, police, and community members 2) Improved interracial relations within Shreveport (racial justice), 3) Developed a three part strategy to increase community cohesion that involved establishing neighborhood-based centers that provide services to residents. Additionally, SBCR has been the recipient of several accolades, including being chosen as one of 19 "Solutions for America" by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, an All-American City award from the National Civic League, and a $728,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who is also committed to funding a research project to further assess the worth of SBCR and promote it as a model program to other cities.


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[1] Montgomery, J. 2002. Planning Index. p.17.