The neighborhood association for Charleston’s Eastside community, Eastside Community Development Corporation, does much more than simply convene neighbors. Composed of approximately 50 residents, business owners and church affiliates, its mission is to act as a liaison between Eastside’s citizens and city officials to build and sustain the community by providing economic and social services. Since its founding in 2003, Eastside Community Development Corporation helps organize and publicize local teen empowerment sessions, neighborhood clean sweeps, free computer class & other various trainings in addition to member and board meetings —and that’s just for the month of March! In September, they will host a “Stop the Violence Awareness Day” which aims to increase knowledge and understanding of what violence does to the community as a whole with the goal of promoting a healthier lifestyle by advocating for the absence of guns, drugs and violence.
In early 2016, Eastside Community Development Corporation started their House Doctors program which offers education and hands on training in minor home repairs and upkeep. With support from the Lowcountry Unity Fund, this program is combating structural racism by creating opportunities for neighborhood residents to retain their downtown homes while also gaining employable skills.
Individuals currently enrolled in the American College of the Building Arts and other interested community residents are offered supervised training by a licensed contractor to promote pride by providing minor home repairs at a substantially reduced cost. Many community residents are being displaced by gentrification and are unable to make the needed repairs to their long time residences and are, therefore, being unfairly bought out of their homes due to in inability to maintain the residence. Additionally, many residents of Eastside neighborhood are overlooked for employment because of the lack of skilled labor.