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January 16, 2013

Akron Beacon Journal: Community Building at Cascade Village

Aerial view of Cascade Village in 2012

For the last two years, the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development has been working as evaluator of a new model of resident services with resident engagement at its core. Center Co-Director Dr. Robert Fischer is lead investigator on this study at the Cascade Village neighborhood in Akron and was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal article "Knight Foundation grant helping build a community at Cascade Village" on January 14, 2013.

This new model "really is ground-breaking in a number of ways," said Fischer. "Its objectives are pretty lofty. It is partly about helping families and children achieve their goals and about making a former public housing setting a vital community that contributes to the life of Akron."

Poverty Center faculty associates Drs. Mark Joseph and Mark Chupp are co-investigators on the Cascade Village learning and evaluation study. In addition to the household surveys mentioned in the article, the three professors and two researchers from the Center use a multi-methods approach to assess the model including engaging residents to advise the evaluation study, collecting qualitative information in the form or journals from both residents and staff, and soon will add focus group discussions. This past October, the research team and their resident advisers together presented the study's methods at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences as part of a series of presentations to show models of social work research in the field.

Cascade Village is a mixed-income neighborhood, with residents of varying incomes living side by side; everyone from students to public housing residents to home owners. Dr. Fischer believes the model in use at Cascade Village "is a really important example of the kind of work that is going on around the nation with mixed income."

The above image links to a .PDF poster generated by the Poverty Center of an aerial view of Cascade Village in Akron.

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is a research center at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, a graduate school of social work at Case Western Reserve University.