The Urban Institute’s formative evaluation of Love Your Block describes how the program and Cities of Service, the program’s funder, affect neighborhood-level remediation of vacant and abandoned properties, city government collaboration, and resident engagement. Love Your Block connects mayors’ offices with city residents to revitalize their neighborhoods one block at a time. The Love Your Block model involves two main components: a two-year grant and the support of AmeriCorps VISTA members. In addition, Cities of Service provides technical assistance and cohort support to grantees. In 2018, after a competitive grant application process, Cities of Service selected 10 cities to be in Love Your Block’s second cohort: Buffalo, New York; Gary, Indiana; Hamilton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Huntington, West Virginia; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; Richmond, Virginia; and South Bend, Indiana. Each city received $25,000. In turn, the cities disbursed minigrants of $200 to $2,000 to community groups, block clubs, and informal groups of neighbors who organized volunteer-led projects in their neighborhoods.
A Formative Evaluation of the Love Your Block Program