Upham's Corner Online

Grove Hall NRT - Neighborhood Response Team

Posted: January 4, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

Due to the excessively cold weather, the January 4, 2012 Grove Hall NRT “walk” was replaced by a Grove Hall NRT "talk."  Attendees were also grateful because it also gave them a chance to catch up on their notes that had gotten behind over the holidays.

Present were two representatives fron the Police Dept, Sargeant Leighton Facey and Officer Israul Marrero, ISD Liaison for Constituent services, Colleen M Kennedy, area resident, Cynthia Horton, Dr. Patricia Cendeno-Zamor who works across the street and Nancy Conrad representing Upham's Corner.    Michael Kozu from Project RIGHT moderated the proceedings.

Mrs. Horton brought detailed proof of many issues regarding property close to where she lives with addresses, conversations and photos on your cellphone.  Dr.Cendeno-Zamor described the frightening problem that occurred in her building.  She was advised on how to stay in contact with Project RIGHT especially on the nights when she works late and is alone in the building.

Michael then moved into a review of all the properties the NRT has been monitoring over the last six months.  Wherever appropriate, the police provided confirmation regarding the issues through their police report summaries while ISD had back up information on code enforcement issues.

"The NRT approach to neighborhood problem resolution works really well." Michael Kozu likes this approach better than attempting to work with city agencies one at a time.  “We highly recommend all problems get logged into Citizens Connect to establish a tracking number.  I usually follow that up, though, with e-mail to the appropriate city department."

“How do we keep track of progress on the issues logged with the City?  Well, first we track problem properties by address.  Then we follow up on problems about that address through City of Boston tracking numbers.”

The Neighborhood Response Team is an initiative out of the city of Boston.  Any neighborhood-based organization can reach out to the City and request that an NRT be established in their area. 

"Is it better that an NRT be run by a Safe Neighborhood Initiative organization?"  The group said: "No, an SNI is a broader-based initiative.  An NRT looks in detail at the neighborhood - at crime, housing, code enforcement, transportation issues and the condition of the infrastructure."

He added that "It’s better that a local neighborhood organization coordinate the NRT.  Someone has to keep track of the data.  The city departments and elected officials that attend are resources that help make a difference but it's the neighborhood that has to keep track and follow-up on the properties and the promises.  That's why it's really important to get out into the neighborhood and hold the walks.”

"How often do we meet?  We've been meeting every two weeks since the middle of July 2010.  What's interesting,” he continued, "is that our walks will often target a specific area, and we’re lucky if we make it through one third of that.  What we find is that people come out of their homes and businesses, they join us and they let us know what's really going on in the neighborhood.  The whole process works really well."

The Neighborhood Response Team includes the
  • Inspectional Services Department,
  • Boston Police Department, B-2,
  • Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services,
  • Department of Public Works,
  • Boston Transportation Department and
  • several other city agencies,
  • Project RIGHT, Inc.,
  • Reps. Liz Malia,Carlos Henriquez and Gloria Fox,
  • Candace Sealey of Congressman MIchael Capuano's Office
  • Councilors Tito Jackson, Charles Yancey, Felix Arroyo, John Connolly and Ayanna Pressley and
  • many other community agencies.

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