A community that cares
SoHu is an acronym for South of Humphrey, and is the block watch community and neighborhood association for Clark, Pleasant, Pearl, and parts of Orange and State streets. Our block watch association formed back in October 2007, and is now 450 members strong.
Our group is extremely vested in our community. We are the largest block-watch in New Haven and are often highlighted by the New Haven police department as the real true model of community policing/blockwatch success. In addition, we have a greenspace partnership with URI, and have planted over 100 trees on Pearl, Pleasant, Clark, Orange, and Humphrey streets.
Since its inception in 2007, the SoHu Neighborhood Association (formerly SoHu Block Watch Association) has had much success with community building efforts such as crime prevention, charitable fundraising, tree planting, and social bonding events such as Holiday parties and Block Parties. We host our Annual Block Party on Pleasant Street the Saturday after Labor Day in order to welcome and connect new residents with existing ones on Pearl, Pleasant, Clark, (portions of) Orange, State and Humphrey Streets. In 2011, the Block Party served as a celebration of “Greening SoHu” to highlight our success with spring/summer streamline recycling, tree-planting, and environmental education campaigns. We provided educational resources and recreational activities and crafts for children and adults focused around recycling, waste reduction, and energy conservation. We provide welcome packets for new residents with information about local businesses, places of interest, important phone numbers and services, as well as a page with recycling and conservation information.
We established a neighborhood Movie Night in 2009. Funding for these events in the first year came from personal donations and support from area businesses, and was organized and publicized by SoHu residents with the support of the Friends of East Rock Park (FERP). In 2010, additional support was provided by FERP and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. In 2011, Movie Night was discontinued due to lack of funding. In 2012, FERP and SoHu threw a Halloween costume parade and movie night. Who knows what 2013 will bring!
In 2010, SoHu sponsored the second annual Stockings for Soldiers drive. The group shipped off over 125 stockings, and close to 300 letters and handmade cards to troops stationed in Afghanistan. SoHu partnered with a teacher at Wexler Grant school who had the students write letters and make cards. In 2011, SoHu focused the Stockings for Soldiers drive on our Wounded Warriors. We sent off 100 stockings, and hundreds of letters from two grade schools as well as artwork from a local day care. These packages went to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Tx.
2012 began with a dark cloud that we spun to neighborhood gold. On January 6th, a lifelong resident and friend was brutally attacked and stabbed while out walking on State St. Then on January 14, there was a devastating fire on State St in the old Amatos building. The tenants lost everything in the fire. One tenant, a Vietnam veteran, was in the hospital being treated for a serious car accident. His 2 dogs and 3 cats were caught in the fire. 2 cats died, but the remaining cat and both dogs had to be hospitalized. The neighborhood went into action. We raised $10,000 to cover the hospitalization costs for all the animals. We also collected clothing and household goods for both the veteran and the family of 5 who were living in the other apartment. We helped the family find new housing, and thanks to very generous neighbors, the apartment was fully furnished. The veteran decided to move out of state. Then in February, a dinner-dance-raffle fundraiser was held to benefit the stabbing victim. It was a well attended event.
We ended 2012 strong by sending 144 stuffed stockings to wounded troops at Brooke Army Medical Center at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio Tx.
2013 and 2014 our Stockings for Soldiers drive focused on the local veterans in the West Haven VA Hospital. Partnering with St Bernadette school, the children put on a show for the veterans with Christmas carols and other songs. And then we handed out stockings. 2014 was the best year yet with 204 stockings donated. This was made possible by partnerships with John Daniels Magnet School, Carriage Green Assisted Living, Stratford Junior girl scout troop 37470, SCSU, CFNH, and so very many individuals across the state who contributed items and money.