Hat City Lofts Groundbreaking
Since 1986, HANDS, Inc. has implemented a neighborhood revitalization effort in the neighboring cities of Orange and East Orange, NJ. By targeting the most pivotal properties for development, engaging citizens and other stakeholders and leveraging investments of time and funds, HANDS has stabilized neighborhoods and created long-term sustainable change. HANDS focuses on redeveloping vacant homes (some facing foreclosure) for affordable homeownership, adaptively reusing former industrial and commercial buildings as mixed use developments, developing resident leaders and leading community visioning and comprehensive planning. HANDS is a nonprofit corporation and a chartered affiliate of NeighborWorks® America.
Patrick Morrissy, Founding Director
Founding Director of HANDS
Patrick Morrissy is the founder (in 1986) of HANDS, Inc., a neighborhood change nonprofit working in Orange and East Orange, NJ. HANDS’ real estate strategy revolves around “high-impact development for long-term sustainable neighborhood change”. In 1986, Pat gathered a group of clergy and community leaders concerned that the neighborhoods of Orange and East Orange were cycling downward due to disinvestment, middle-class flight and loss of industry with their good paying jobs. While housing was always at the core, it took years to understand that a focus on the redevelopment of chronically vacant and deteriorated properties was the role where HANDS could have the most impact. The strategy is built around clearing title to and redeveloping pivotal eyesore properties that are eroding the quality of neighborhood life. HANDS has redeveloped 106 problem properties in Orange and East Orange and purchased defaulted mortgages on 47 vacant properties from one Lender and is clearing title and redeveloping them as affordable homeownership along with four CDCs. In Orange, HANDS has led a comprehensive planning process for two neighborhoods and is creating an Arts District in a former industrial area called the Valley. Morrissy grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated with an Accounting degree from the University of Detroit. He quickly joined the War on Poverty and began his career in New Jersey working with high school drop-outs. In 1970, he got his first community development job overseeing a neighborhood rehabilitation program, followed by some years as a community organizer, a home repair contractor and always looking to create more opportunity for the poor, for urban residents and on behalf of neglected neighborhoods. From 1979-85, he headed up Essex County’s first Tenant Resource Center that helped tenants fighting for better living conditions and rents that they could afford. Morrissy is a founder of Shelterforce magazine and the National Housing Institute and was a Member of the NJ State Planning Commission. He is the national Chair of the Community Stabilization Committee for NeighborWorks America. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Edit HANDS