Stonybrook apartments see drastic improvement

Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 18:41:29-05

A community is coming together to bring change to an apartment complex long plagued by crime and poverty.

Those at the forefront of that effort say it seems to be working - as it appears the Stonybrook apartment complex in Riviera Beach is seeing a drastic drop in calls for service - and a drastic increase in community pride.

"There's some great people here who wanted change," says Cleveland Wester with the non-profit Community Partners, which has been working to transform the complex.

That change began about 6 months ago and Jibby Ciric, also with Community Partners, says it started with the people.

"We reached out to residents," she says. "We did realize that we can't complete the effort without fully being invested in the community."

She says it was no doubt a community effort - with area agencies like Urban Youth Impact and the Riviera Beach Police Department coming into Stonybrook to work with management

Meanwhile, residents themselves engaged in monthly meetings.

"Meeting involvement increased from four residents at a community meeting to 28 residents," Ciric says.

The non-profit says the extra attention is slowly but surely turning things around.

Jibby and Cleveland point to crime stats as a major indication of that; they say since they got involved 6 months ago, calls for police service to the complex have dropped a whopping 80 percent.

"The reduction in the calls to the police department is huge, but there is still more work to do," Wester says.

Education, employment and childcare are next on the list he says - with a special emphasis on the kids in the area.

Cleveland says continuing to break that cycle of hopelessness is necessary to providing everyone here with a better future.

"We want to bring everything we can to this community so all the folks here know they have hope," Wester says. "That's what it's all about. Giving people hope they can have a better life."

Community Partners says it's also looking at similar efforts in Lake Worth and Belle Glade.