Transforming Residents into Community Leaders

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Transforming Residents into Community Leaders

HANDS designs, develops and implements all neighborhood revitalization strategies within a Social Determinants of Health framework. Research shows that improved quality of housing and long-term affordability coupled with economic opportunity and strong civic empowerment and participation help residents achieve better health outcomes over the long term. 

I grew up in Orange and enjoyed my childhood. I remember what Orange was in the hands of others, and I knew Orange could be better. I not only was raised in Orange, but I am proud to say I currently work in Orange, and I am a proud homeowner in Orange. 

I was introduced to HANDS through Elizabeth Jackson, who was facilitating a Home Buyers certification course for 1st-time buyers. Before working with HANDS, we were looking at houses for sale in Essex County through a realtor. Emotionally we did not want to purchase anyone else’s “junk.” I was married, raising a family, and knew I could not afford to throw money away in a rental unit. HANDS came along at the right time because they were offering low income, newly built houses. I chose to work with HANDS because they provided homeownership opportunities within the community I want to help grow and flourish. 

As a homeowner in Orange, I can be a part of the progression within my hometown.  Being a homeowner gives me a louder voice in Orange. My community means so much to me that I am an active member of The City of Orange Township Planning Board, I am working for the Orange Board of Education, and my children are enrolled in the Orange School District.  

While working with HANDS, I learned that homeownership is more than a possibility and much simpler process than I feared. HANDS is an organization that I would collaborate with because the work they do is beneficial to the residents and the community. I hope the future of Orange will include more school buildings for the increasing number of residents and organizations.” -Dwight Holmes

Stories like Dwight Holmes’, a HANDS homeowner, are true representations of the importance of investing in the residents of our city to empower them to flourish and pay it forward. 

Help HANDS continue to empower and activate our community! Make a donation today. 

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