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New Taunton Housing Authority Community Center Design is Getting a Boost of People Power

Last week Beacon Climate Innovations and Sovations helped the Taunton Housing Authority (THA) launch their first open meeting to discuss plans and gather input for a new Community Center at a housing complex that is home to 100 low-income families in the city. Over 30 folks were in attendance. By all accounts it was an inspiring occasion for all who joined; from residents to presenters/facilitators.

We collectively brainstormed ideas and gathered data on prospective uses for the facility, emergency needs of the community and possible programs. There was an overwhelming focus on the children – keeping them safe, giving them opportunities. It was exhilarating to see ideas constructively built upon ideas. As we were wrapping up, folks expressed excitement about the new center. Many volunteered to pitch in where they could: from serving on an advisory board to helping paint.

The themes of community resilience and sustainability were ever-present throughout the event. I was particularly struck by a dialogue I had with one of the attendees in the group discussion:

  • To my question: “What does resilience mean to you?”, a women responded with: “something that I am tired having to be… having to bounce back all the time”.

  • To my next question, “what does sustainability mean to you?”, that same woman answered with “not feeling quite so tired of being resilient”.

It was the most poignant and personal way I’ve ever heard those two characteristics woven together. It may well be the source for an important metric to track in this process. Regardless, we will be keeping it close to mind and heart as we expand this endeavor.

Beacon Climate, in collaboration with Sovations, is conducting a clean energy community resilience hub (CCRH) study for the THA. As part of that study, we are listening to the needs, wants, concerns and views of residents and stakeholders from across the city in the context of building a stronger, more equitable community in the face the challenges of a changing climate and the opportunities created by the transition to a more sustainable economy. Other stakeholders in this study include the Taunton’s Mayor’s office, the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP), Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School and Citizens for Citizens, Inc. The study is supported in part by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Empower Program. We see this effort as a guidepost for many other related projects within the City of Taunton while setting a cornerstone for the Greentown Labs based member led ALIGN program, dedicated to connecting communities with climate solutions.

You can stay informed of the THA CCRH study's progress and other projects by subscribing to this site (scroll to bottom of home page and enter email) or following Beacon Climate on LinkedIn

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