Across the United States, communities are struggling with the challenges associated with neighborhood decline. Practitioners and policymakers are beginning to realize that the task is oftentimes more difficult when the communities facing these challenges are in older suburban areas where: (a) poverty is an increasingly prevalent issue; and (b) the resources and expertise to manage issues associated with poverty and disinvestment that exists in cities are less prevalent.
Mount Holly Gardens is a community in southern New Jersey that was developed in the 1950s to house veterans and was initially managed by the Federal Housing Administration. Over time, ownership of the Gardens went into private hands. There was a substantial shift in population demographics, physical deterioration, and ultimately, an effort to redevelop the neighborhood. The redevelopment of the Gardens, the accompanying fair housing lawsuit(s) and subsequent settlement are the subject of this report. The study looks at if a collective impact process could have been a solution and offers learnings that can be instructive for future efforts.