"From the rubble of once crime-ridden, drug-infested buildings in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood rises Greater Heights, an attractive, well-constructed apartment community for 18 low-income families and senior citizens. Formerly known as “The Bottoms,” this area was once synonymous with despair.
According to the latest statistics from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are 7,255 low to moderate income renters in Melbourne, but only 2,346 units of affordable rental housing.
The colorful Key West-themed complex of safe and energy-efficient one to four-bedroom units is set amidst centuries-old live oaks. Units range in size from 674 to 1,272 square feet and have HVAC, landscaped lawns, anti-crime prevention features and plenty of parking. The neighboring Dorcas Outreach Center for Kids, or DOCK, provides free after-school activities and snacks for the children and teens in the community."
Pictured here is Ruth McGlory, the first tenant of Greater Heights
Until last night, I had no idea what the The Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition (BNDC) was. I was invited to photograph their annual fundraiser - A Gathering of Friends event in Lansing Island, where prominent members of the Brevard philanthropy community met for food, entertainment, networking and overall to raise money for the BNDC. The people at this event were committed to their cause, and were warm and welcoming.
Also at the event were children and teenagers, whose lives had been affected so positively by the coalition. Whether it has given them somewhere safe to go after school, or like the young man I met whose family got to move into one of the new apartments, their stories were so compelling.
The next project for the BNDC is to build a community store, in a low income, dangerous and dilapidated area of S. Melbourne/N. Palm Bay. THis will allow residents a place to purchase fruits, vegetables and fresh goods, as well as bring a spirit of hope and community back to the neighborhood.
I felt compelled to write about an amazing group of people who I met last night, who give of themselves to help others less fortunate.