Known throughout the Carolinas as an open drug market, Genesis Park was ranked in 1992 as having Charlotte’s highest violent crime rate due to the streets being ruled by drug dealers and gangs.
The Housing Partnership’s Involvement
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, housing was on a serious decline in Genesis Park because many of the brick duplexes were being rented by drug dealers or were abandoned. The Housing Partnership began purchasing houses in 1991, and the first four homeowners moved in their two-story homes in the summer of 1992.
Over the next seven years many changes took place. Violent crime decreased (77% from 1992). This drop in crime can be attributed to the effectiveness of Community Policing and the purchase of over ninety buildings by The Housing Partnership, thus ridding Genesis Park of its criminal element.
The rest of the nation got a glimpse of the changes in Genesis Park in 1997 when Peter Jennings featured the community’s transformation during a “Solutions” segment of “ABC World News Tonight.”
There are approximately 200 properties in Genesis Park. The Housing Partnership currently has 93 homeowners and Habitat for Humanity has 12. There are about 40 existing homeowners who have lived in Genesis Park for more than thirty years.
In 1997 the National Institute of Justice highlighted Genesis Park as a community that battled crime and won in one of it’s publications. Genesis Park also won the Housing North Carolina Award in 1996.
The Community Outreach Missionary Church formed Charlotte Genesis Inc. and convinced The Housing Partnership and the City of Charlotte that a serious effort must be made before the community was forgotten. These organizations assisted in changing this community forever.
Today, the Genesis Park neighborhood association is active in maintaining this change. They offer activities such as flag-football, a marching band and summer programs for the neighborhood’s youth. They have received grants for literacy and technology programs.