The GO Network includes 13 neighborhoods in Houston. GO Neighborhoods began in 2009 in two Houston neighborhoods—Northside and Independence Heights. In December 2012, the OST/South Union community joined the partnership, followed by Fifth Ward in September 2018, and Northline in January 2020. There are also nine additional GO Neighborhoods that LISC engage with at different levels of investment: Acres Homes, Alief, Denver Harbor/Port Houston, Greater Third Ward, Gulfton, Kashmere/Trinity/Houston Gardens, Magnolia Park, and Sunnyside.
To ensure success in the communities we work with, LISC wants to understand the level of readiness and capacity for change in the neighborhood. Based on that assessment LISC provides three levels of investment to respond to the needs of each neighborhood within the network and the resources LISC can attract to the initiative:
Comprehensive – high capacity for change and LISC is “all in” with integrated investments. Efforts are addressing multiple pillars of Building Sustainable Communities approach and collecting data.
Collaborative – capacity is growing, there is momentum building and some participation in advocacy and training. LISC has a major investment and ongoing relationship with at least one organization.
Connected – there is interest in learning and small projects are underway. LISC is making transactional investments and beginning a relationship with the neighborhood.
The Near Northside was selected as one of two Pilot GO Neighborhoods communities in 2009, with Avenue CDC as convening agency. With a focus on engaging the community broadly, encouraging and supporting resident leadership, dreaming big, and including all, GO Neighborhoods is bringing Near Northsiders together to create and implement their own organic vision for a thriving neighborhood. The community has completed two comprehensive plans including the Near Northside Quality of Life Agreement (QLA) and the Near Northside QLA 2.0.
In January 2013, OST/South Union was designated a GO Neighborhood by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). SEHTA serves as the Steering Committee in conjunction with Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation (NRCDC) as the Convening Agency. OST/South Union GO Neighborhoods multi-year comprehensive initiative focuses on neighborhood revitalization by addressing the many aspects of developing a sustainable community – a good place to work, live, and raise a family. Additional technical assistance came in January 2013 from Blue’s National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program award, the OHIP collaborative and other local partnerships.
In 2018, 5th Ward neighborhood leaders, residents and community development experts collaborated to establish this vision, that 5th Ward will be a unified community that honors its historical heritage and embraces redevelopment for all. Since then, many more community members have joined to contribute to GO and the group has done dozens of early action projects that have served hundreds and offered lots of volunteer opportunities.
In 2015, AVENUE was invited to bring their community building and engagement strategy to the neighborhood. With initial support from NeighborWorks America and then the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, they have worked with more than 1,500 residents and 65 institutional partners to create a Neighborhood Health Equity Plan.’ This plan guides Northline efforts into the future to help resident leaders build a strong, safe, supportive, and connected community. In 2020 Norhtline became a Comprehensive GO Neighborhood which will focus on the implementation of the neighborhood plan and the expansion of this efforts.
Independence Heights is a historic neighborhood located in northwest Houston. Known as the first city incorporated by African Americans. The neighborhood has been on the path of comprehensive community development since 2007. LISC presented the GO Neighborhoods Challenge, and the community mobilized towards shared goals and shared efforts. More than eighty people representing all ages, ethnicities and occupations supported and participated in the planning of the GO Neighborhoods Challenge Project.
Independence Heights Quality of Life Agreement
The Independence Heights Redevelopment Council (IHRC) is the current community liaison for GO Neighborhoods.
LISC also supports Acres Homes, Alief, Denver Harbor/Port Houston, Greater Third Ward, Gulfton, Kashmere/Trinity/Houston Gardens, Magnolia park and Sunnyside. We share the Building Sustainable Communities approach (GO Neighborhoods), best practices in comprehensive community development, and available LISC resources with these communities.