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Better Block Project Celebrates Diversity in Akron

The Exchange House will open in February, offering a hostel and much more for the immigrant communities of Akron's North Hill neighborhood.
January 16, 2017, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jennifer Conn reports on the forthcoming opening of the new Exchange House in Akron's North Hill neighborhood. The Better Block Foundation completed the project after receiving $155,000 in grant funding from the 2015 Knight Foundation Knight Cities Challenge.

North Hill has a long tradition as an immigrant neighborhood, attracting Italian, Polish, German, and Irish immigrants over the past century and more. In the 21st century, the neighborhood has been a popular destination for Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal.

Better Block's idea was to turn a foreclosed, vacant North Hill home into an AirBnB hostel and cultural hub. The Exchange House is designed to tap the entrepreneurial potential of the neighborhood's growing Bhutanese population. The second-floor hostel will generate revenue, which will support programs on the ground floor.

Conn also explains that the project is designed to showcase the benefits of cooperative diversity.

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Published on Sunday, January 15, 2017 in
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