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Changing neighborhoods

This week, the News-Gazette reported on the changes in poverty rates among local school districts.

According to the story: 

"In many cases, an increase in poverty around the area is caused by a loss of good-paying jobs and the economy as a whole. Students who live in poverty may move around more and in some cases, may live with extended family members, like grandparents or aunts and uncles, district officials said."

With the changes in poverty rates and mobility come increased changes in our neighborhoods.

Brenda Eheart is founder of Generations of Hope in Rantoul. Generations of Hope, or what was originally known as Hope Meadows, is an intergenerational neighborhood that provides support and services to adoptive families.

The neighborhood is reminiscent of ones much more common two or three generations ago where neighbors look out for neighbors and relationships are developed. 

Now our neighborhoods are in transition. Families are forced out of their homes due to foreclosures and more and more people struggle to find safe, affordable and permanent housing.

It's the "social architecture," in addition to the physical architecture, that plays an equal role in quality of life, Eheart said.

"And really what I ask people is to think about how important friends and neighbors and family are to us in our everyday lives and I think for many of us, when we have that, we tend to take it for granted and we don’t think, one how important it really is to us and we don’t think what our lives would be like if we really didn’t have that support," she said.

Over the next few months, will be exploring housing in Champaign and Vermilion counties.

We need your help. Tell us what your neighborhood is like now. What do you like about your neighborhood? What would you change or improve?

Email us at or visit SkyChalk, find your neighborhood on a map and write something about it.





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