About Walnut Neighborhood

The historic Walnut Neighborhood, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and bordering the northeast edge of downtown Waterloo, has sustained over a decade of demolition of houses due to decay and seen an increase in the disrepair of the remaining houses in the neighborhood. Walnut Neighborhood revitalization efforts are now underway, with Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity playing a significant role in the work through partnering with low-income owner occupants in the neighborhood to provide critical home repairs, preventing existing homes from falling into further disrepair. Additionally, Iowa Heartland has fully rehabbed vacant homes in the neighborhood and sold them to new Habitat homebuyers and will build or rehab 12 additional vacant properties over the next three years.

Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity co-convened and co-organized the Walnut Neighborhood Housing Coalition (WNHC) in December 2016 as part of the overall neighborhood redevelopment plan to specifically promote fair, decent, affordable, mixed-income, and historically preserved housing and residential development in the neighborhood. Partners of the WNHC include: Link CCD, the Walnut Neighborhood Association, JSA Development, Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity and the Waterloo Community Development office. The WNHC meets monthly to discuss projects and plans
in process as well as new directions that need to be taken to continue the housing redevelopment efforts. 

Hear from Laura Hoy

“There is such power in (knowing your neighbor). We don't really think that it leads to something else, but it does. It creates this sense of security.” - Laura Hoy

Ali and J'Kalein are joined by, Christian Community Development practitioner, Walnut Neighborhood resident, & president of the Walnut Neighborhood Association, Laura Hoy. They chat about the power of neighborhoods, holistic community development, and Laura's work in the neighborhood over the past 13 years. You don't want to miss this inspiring conversation!


Holistic Neighborhood Revitalization

Holistic neighborhood revitalization focuses on Asset Based Development Outcomes in order to create the ultimate outcome of an improved quality of life for residents and the community as a whole.

Asset-based community development considers local strengths as the primary building blocks of sustainable, long-term community development. It's an innovative solution that reverses neighborhood, economic, and housing disparities that have followed decades of disinvestment and adversely impacted quality of life. Yet, neighborhoods can become stronger and more resilient through a neighborhood-driven plan when all pertinent parties are vested in and accountable to its success.

Iowa Heartland is focused on the following outcomes in the Walnut Neighborhood:

  1. Housing: promotion and protection of fair, decent, affordable, mixed-income and historically preserved housing and residential development.
  2. Historic Preservation: building on the resident-identified asset of the neighborhood’s historic structures and stories.
  3. Sense of Community: unity and neighbor ties are strengthened within the neighborhood, increasing trust with each other.
  4. Economic Opportunities: job creation, financial resources.
  5. Transportation: safe, affordable, accessible to downtown and amenities.






Sulyntha is excited to have a stable place to live with her kids rather than moving from place to place.
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KaMeesha always wanted to invest in herself and her future, but the high cost of rent was holding her back.
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Maria is excited for the day when she has her own home and her daughters each have their own rooms to show their friends.
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