A Community’s well-being is the outcome of a multifaceted interplay of social, cultural, economic and environmental influences that is beyond any one individual or organization. The long-lasting resolutions to improve community well-being depend upon people and a diverse network of organizations that bond around a shared vision—a vision to work together on evidence based solutions.

The Heartland community forum was a public event where a panel of vested participants with various experiences shared their knowledge and perspectives. Members of the audience asked questions and received unfettered responses from panel members. In a published story by the Editorial Board of the Rockford Register Star, “’How to Build Our Community’ Summed up in three words…..
CALM THOUGHTFUL RESPECTFUL.” http://ow.ly/pc1F30a27I1

The discussion featured Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer, two RHA residents who will move from the Fairgrounds Valley public housing complex to The Grove at Keith Creek and two residents of the New Towne neighborhood. The event stimulated a respectful and insightful community conversation about affordable housing in our community. Ron Clewer stated, “When you have these kinds of small conversations, you get people to know each other — you have relationships. Those hostile meetings don’t happen, I always believe eventually the best in people will take over, and when people have all the information they need to make good decisions, most people make compassionate decisions.”

The Dominican Associates of Sinsinawa and Rockford Urban Ministries hosted the event at the Heartland Community Church. Stanley Campbell, Executive Director of Rockford Urban Ministries, states, “Reconciliation is one of the principles of what you do over Lent, you try to bring opposing forces together, and one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor.” Community initiatives such as this have been shown to stimulate untapped community resources, build opportunities to nurture interactions across communities, and strengthen the social influences that are essential to sustain dynamic neighborhoods and transform communities.

Rockford Housing Authority is of the belief that collaboration, dialogue and engagement present enormous opportunities to foster greater human potential, prosperity, and peace in our community.

We envision a time when all Rockford neighborhoods contribute to the appeal of our city – neighborhoods enriched by pride, hard work and investment creates neighborhoods where respect, excellence and a sense of community ownership are evident in our community.


On March 14th, 2017; a public forum meeting was conducted at the Heartland Community Church, hosted by the Rockford Urban Ministries and Dominican Associates of Sinsinawa Rockford. The public was invited to attend, and several key members from the area community were present on the forum panel, including Ron Clewer, CEO of Rockford Housing Authority; Donald Bondick, local business owner in the New Towne area; Arne Larson, New Towne area resident; Leticia Bowman, a prospective Grove Resident; and Thelma Harris, a prospective Grove Resident. The forum was moderated by Mark Baldwin, Executive Director of the Rockford Register Star.

The purpose of the forum was to present an opportunity for area residents to come and meet some of the possible new residents of The Grove, as well as to answer questions local residents had. The forum was the epitome of calm, thoughtful and respectful dialogue with an overarching positive reception from the public.

Some New Towne residents expressed enthusiasm at the thought of meeting new neighbors and using the new community room for events at The Grove. The current Fairgrounds residents also expressed excitement toward the future of residing at The Grove, looking forward to a safe, healthy community to live in.