NEWPORT NEWS — Just about every week since August of 2018, Yugonda Sample-Jones has knocked on doors in the Ridley Place neighborhood of southeast Newport News to distribute information about resources and impending changes to the community.
Months later, she still comes across people who don’t know about some service, event or opportunity and some who haven’t heard about the planned destruction and redevelopment of the housing units.
As part of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative, the city and Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority have created a plan to transform Ridley Place, Marshall Courts and the nearby and surrounding areas. The development of the plan has included plenty of community input, but some people have slipped past.
“That’s why we do this,” said Sample-Jones, who works with the Hampton Roads Community Action Program as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America, or VISTA. Keeping the residents informed is a step toward empowering them and helping them develop goals and dreams, she said. It also helps prevent them being surprised when big changes start rolling through the neighborhood.