Greater Heights Apartments
Neighbor Up Brevard was established as Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition (BNDC) in 2001. Our founders were a diverse group from Brevard County churches, businesses, and civic organizations with a desire to revitalize impoverished communities. Their original focus was on the Booker T. Washington neighborhood in north Melbourne, which was plagued by drugs, crime and poverty. While conducting early action projects such as exterior home painting and neighborhood beautification, BNDC leaders were introduced to Sister Irene Summerford. A long-time resident leader, Irene Summerford, had a passion for helping area children. With her guidance and vision, the Dorcas Outreach Center for Kids (DOCK) was established as a safe haven in 2004. While the DOCK initially operated from a public housing apartment, by 2007 BNDC had built the 3500 square-foot facility that is home to the elementary program. In January 2018, BNDC opened a 3800 square-foot building that houses the teen program on an adjacent lot. BNDC performs a valuable service by providing safe, structured community centers for children to go after school and during the summer.
Across the street from the DOCK was a blighted block known as "the Bottoms" - notorious for drug and criminal activity. Dilapidated, asbestos-laden housing owned by an absentee landlord was an eyesore and contributed to a sense of despair.
When the City of Melbourne targeted the area for improvements and asked nonprofit organizations for ideas, BNDC proposed a bold initiative: transforming the Bottoms into a safer, pleasant and affordable place for families and seniors to live. With strong backing from local government, BNDC was able to leverage private sector support for the project, acquire the properties, and tear down the old buildings. The 18-unit Greater Heights Apartments opened in 2009, and the street where they stand was renamed Irene Summerford Way. Recently, BNDC acquired the lot to the east of the DOCK elementary building with the intention of building six additional units of Greater Heights.
In 2010, residents of the Powell/Driskell Heights neighborhoods invited BNDC to serve as project manager for Evans Center, an economic development initiative in northeast Palm Bay. Evans Center is currently under construction and will open fall 2018. Located in this USDA-designated “food desert”, Evans Center will host a market, community room, and a Brevard Health Alliance clinic. It will be a place where teens will work in their first job at the market; bins will be filled with colorful healthy foods; people will get relief or preventative care as they visit the clinic; and exchanges among neighbors will be joyful as they engage and support their community.
BNDC, now Neighbor Up Brevard, continues to seek
opportunities to partner with neighborhood leaders to transform struggling communities into oases of hope and opportunity.