Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal

An RWJF National Program

Dates of Program: January 2004 to September 2007

Field of Work: Reducing social isolation in distressed areas of Shreveport, La., and adjacent Bossier City and disseminating the model of renewal to other cities.

Problem Synopsis: In the 1990s, crime, substance abuse, unemployment and other problems common to urban America plagued low-income neighborhoods of Shreveport, La. and neighboring Bossier City. Some 60 percent of the adults were unemployed or otherwise outside the workforce, and a majority of households, had less than $15,000 in annual income.

Synopsis of the Work: Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal placed paid outreach workers in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods as permanent, round-the-clock residents of special houses—called Friendship Houses—that doubled as community centers and trained local volunteers to be resources to their neighbors.

Key Results

  • Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal expanded as an organization and increased its programmatic reach in the local area.

  • The organization developed relationships across the economic spectrum of the Shreveport area.

  • The effort to replicate the organization's model of community renewal remained ongoing despite a setback.

  • However, the organization did not achieve an evaluation capability by the end of the RWJF grant period.