shaping advocacy strategies

The Impact of Homeownership on Neighborhood Stability
A streetview portion of Rock the Block.

Rock the Block Neighborhood

Wichita's Rock the Block isn't just a catchy name – it's a testament to the neighborhood's remarkable transformation. Once struggling with high crime rates, Rock the Block has seen a significant drop in recent years. And what's the secret? Homeownership.

Breaking the Cycle

Imagine a street lined with proud homeowners, children playing freely, and neighbors looking out for each other. That's the picture emerging in Rock the Block, where a rise in homeownership is coincided with a progressive decrease in crime rates.
A mother holding her daughter in her arms.

Our Study

In 2022, Claire Hardman, a research volunteer at Wichita Habitat for Humanity, conducted a study to investigate the correlation between homeownership and 911 calls as well as crime rates in a revitalized neighborhood.

The findings of this research shed light on the potential connection between homeownership and community safety, providing valuable insights for future revitalization efforts in Wichita and beyond.

The Questions Asked

To assess the impacts of crime on Habitat neighborhoods, researchers focused on the following questions:
What is the change in the number of 911 calls since we started building in that area in 2010?
How has the crime rate been affected in the area with more Habitat homes?
Does the number of Habitat homeowners in a neighborhood affect the number of calls?

Lower homeownership rates linked to elevated crime rates and increased 911 calls

The map depicts the Rock the Block neighborhood area, which, prior to 2010, had a 21% homeownership rate.

  • High crime rates act as deterrents for residents and investors, contributing to the decline of property values.
  • An improved neighborhood image attracts new builders, ultimately boosting property values and influencing policymakers.
  • Residents, feeling overlooked, drive policy changes through their narratives, fostering community revitalization.
Map of Rock the Block area.
Graph of 911 calls reduced in Wichita's Rock the Block from 2008-2022.

The Correlation:

The study demonstrates that 911 calls decreased over the years in the Rock the Block neighborhood as more Habitat homes were built.

Police calls have been steadily declining since a spike in 2010.

EMS calls have generally stayed consistent.

Fire calls have generally stayed consistent.

These statistics prove to policymakers and legislators that affordable homeownership not only stabilizes a neighborhood, but also decreases reliance on community services.

  • Homeownership stabilizes a community which enables the formation of stronger social networks, leading to better communication and support systems.
  • With increased homeownership, the overall community becomes more resilient and self-sustaining, allowing emergency services to focus on critical situations.
  • Educated homeowners proactively support community involvement and problem-solving. Issues are addressed before they escalate to emergency situations.
Mother and children raising their arms while sitting on the grass in front of their home.

Feelings from Rock the Block

"I feel a newfound sense of security, particularly on my block. My welcoming neighbors play a huge role in this, and the increasing number of families settling here amplifies the observant atmosphere."

Amanda, Habitat Homeowner (since 2015)

"The characteristics of Habitat housing developments, including strong community engagement, might explain the lower service call rates in those areas."

Officer Grindley, community police officer

Rock the Block: Building Brighter Futures Through Affordable Housing

Launched in 2014, Wichita Habitat for Humanity saw the growing need for safe, affordable housing and focused its efforts on infill development in the A. Price Woodard Neighborhood to serve families.

A frontview of a home in the Rock the Block neighborhood before it was renovated.
A frontview of a home in the Rock the Block neighborhood after it was renovated.

Since 2014:

More than 10 blighted properties removed.

$2.4 million in private funds invested in the neighborhood.

The 100th Habitat home will be completed in 2024.

241+ children now live in safe, affordable Wichita Habitat homes.