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Neighborhood revitalization helps improve lives, homes of 30 families

Posted on Sep 28, 2021, by

Rock the Block volunteers make a huge impact in New London.

By Eric Cernjar, Director of Communications and Marketing, Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity

The Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity kicked off our Rock the Block event in New London September 16-18. Rock the Block is a neighborhood revitalization project helping to fix the exteriors of homes for 25-30 families in the New London area.

Homeowner Joelle is thrilled with her home.

“My husband and I have three children and two of them suffer from genetic disorders. We’ve put all of our money and time into medical expenses and care for our kids that our house was falling short of its needs, and we were unable to pay for the repairs we knew it needed,” explains Karen Hidde, Rock the Block program homeowner. “When Habitat for Humanity started advertising that they were bringing Rock the Block to New London my husband and I immediately knew this was our shot. With the help of the Habitat for Humanity program, we will be able to provide the kind of home we want for our children.”

Rock the Block provides zero-interest loan payments for external repairs to homes in a specific neighborhood. Previous Rock the Block event neighborhoods have seen:

  • 22 percent decrease in police calls
  • 42 percent decrease in property damage
  • 54 percent decrease in ordinance complaints
  • 84 percent decrease in noise complaints
  • 58 percent decrease in drug-related incidents
  • 75 percent decrease in domestic abuse-related incidents

Volunteer Mike Ivy adds a fresh coat to the entrance.

“This program is so important because we are improving the lives of not just the family living in the home we are repairing, but also the entire neighborhood and community. It makes a huge difference,” says John Weyenberg, CEO of Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity. “In Karen’s case, we are replacing the roof, siding and windows, getting her brand-new doors with locks, garage doors, light fixtures, motion-sensor lights, new house numbers, a new doorbell, gutters, soffits, fascia, porch and landscaping. When it’s finished it will not only look like a new house, it will also improve the value of the homes in their neighborhood.”

Rock the Block is made possible through the help of hundreds of volunteers and organizations. To learn more, or if you would like to volunteer, visit

Rock The Block New London is supported by grants from two funds within the Community Foundation: the Marilynn W. Taylor/Wohlt Cheese Fund and the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners.

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