United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County (UNSCC) is a coalition of neighborhood associations and homeowner's associations in Santa Clara County who have come together for the purposes of education, communication and common action. United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County is a nonprofit (501c3) corporation, and it provides insurance and other benefits to member neighborhoods.
UNSCC is made up of member neighborhood associations and homeowner associations and governed by its Board of Directors. Annual membership dues are $200.00.
In 2001, the local community foundation’s annual neighborhood grants were renamed the Elizabeth Anabo BRICC Awards to honor the late Elizabeth Anabo, former senior program officer at Community Foundation Silicon Valley. The awards recognize neighborhood organizations for outstanding contributions to improve their communities by “Building Resourceful, Inspirational, Creative Community” (BRICC). Cash awards are given to a select number of neighborhood groups in Santa Clara County that fall into two categories: seasoned groups and new/emerging groups.
Almaden Valley Emergency Response Team: $1000
The Almaden Valley Emergency Response Team, or AVERT, began in 2014 with a focus on crime prevention and has grown in size and scope to include issues around emergency preparedness. AVERT believes the safety of people and neighborhoods should be community priorities, and they’ve made tremendous accomplishments in a brief time to improve public safety in their neighborhood. In 2014, partly due to the police staffing crisis in San Jose, the Almaden Valley crime rate was up 240%. AVERT started a hyper-alert neighborhood watch monitoring system using radios, and the crime rate has dropped to almost nothing. There are currently 660 radios being used by Almaden Valley neighbors to monitor and report suspicious activity to one another. As a testament to AVERT’s successes, the City of San Jose is looking to replicate this program in other neighborhoods. Yours might be next! In the area of emergency preparedness, AVERT has trained 35 residents in the city’s program for Community Emergency Response Teams, or CERTs, through the Office of Emergency Services, and AVERT is actively working to create a resilient community to serve as a model for the rest of the city.
Delmas Park Neighborhood Association: $1000
Delmas Park is part of the Diridon Station area and is a gateway to Downtown San Jose. It’s a mix of residential, commercial, and light industrial-use buildings, with a future plan toward more high-density residential and commercial development. The Delmas Park NA exemplifies several of the BRICC Award’s values. They demonstrate great resourcefulness by mobilizing large numbers of participants from a diverse community and for doing a lot with little financial resources. One example of their creative and inspirational work is the art project on Auzerais Avenue. They brought together developers and neighbors to create a collaborative vision for a community art project that will serve as a gateway between Delmas Park and Discovery Meadow. Another example is their plan to install signs throughout the Lakehouse Historic District, not just to increase pride among the residents of this historically important neighborhood, but also to educate and inform the hundreds if not thousands of people who travel through this area every day. They have met proactively and created relationships with the developers of the five new projects in their neighborhood which are planned to begin in the next year. They hold frequent social events hosted by residents as well as local businesses, and they’ve organized a team of volunteers who spend the first Saturday of each month picking up litter and maintaining landscape plants on Delmas Avenue.
Hellyer-Christopher Riverview Skyway: $500
The Hellyer-Christopher Riverview Skyway Neighborhood Association, or HCRS, is a newly formed NA and a unique group because it is a combination of two adjacent but somewhat different neighborhoods in San Jose. The two neighborhoods, Hellyer-Christopher and Riverview Skyway, determined that it would benefit each to join together as one association. The neighbors that make up HCRS are some of the most diverse in their district, and the way the group approaches differences in the community exemplifies several of the BRICC Award values. Each of the two neighborhoods have different priorities, such as crime, litter, and blight, but instead of battling about which is the biggest issue or competing with each other for resources, they listen to one another with the goal of supporting all priorities in both neighborhoods as a single group. HCRS has also addressed cross-cultural and identity issues head-on in their meetings. They start every meeting with an ice breaker to give people a chance to meet, laugh a little, and have some fun before getting down to business. In the short time they’ve been together as a single organization, they’ve held social events, organized clean-up and neighborhood beautification projects, trained in disaster preparedness and neighborhood watch, and even held a fundraiser resulting in a $700 donation to Goodwill.
San Tomas Area Community Coalition: $500
The San Tomas Area Community Coalition, or STACC, was reborn in 2104 out of the former San Tomas NA which had gone quite in 2010. STACC represents everyone in the area of the San Tomas Area Neighborhood Plan, which is roughly 1/3 of the city of Campbell. The impetus to revitalize in 2014 was a collective outrage over the proposed Dell Avenue Area Plan, a major development which the city of Campbell was fast-tracking through the approval process. Many residents near the proposed development reported not receiving notice about it, and they came together to reactivate the neighborhood association. Within a week of reorganizing in August 2014, STACC had produced fliers, gone door to door, circulated a petition and started a writing campaign to the City. Public meetings about the Plan and its environmental impact report continued through 2015, and at this time the Plan is on hold and being considered for inclusion in the City’s General Plan where it can be modified to best meet the needs of the community. STACC has created such a positive working relationship with the City of Campbell over the past two years that the City is currently in litigation on their behalf with Barracuda Networks, after a Barracuda employee took a chainsaw to an existing mortar wall to create an opening from the corporate parking lot onto an otherwise quiet residential street.
Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition: $500
The Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition, or Winchester NAC, is an organization that spans a challenging geographic location. It encompasses three cities (San Jose, Santa Clara, and Campbell) each with their own governments. And in San Jose, the Winchester area crosses over two different city council districts. The Winchester NAC’s mission is to ensure the quality of life and economic development in the Winchester region through innovation. For its members, the Winchester NAC aggressively collects and disseminates information about development and transportation projects in order to build a consensus about how these projects can be best shaped to serve the community’s needs. And for city planners and developers, the Winchester NAC offers a mechanism to speak with the community in order to understand their concerns and to build support for development projects that will improve the community’s quality of life. As an organization, they are committed to community place-making, the idea that the Winchester area should be, now and in the future, a place where you want to be not just a place to drive through. One story that demonstrates their creative leveraging of limited resources was when they organized a group of thirty people to attend a Santa Clara City Council meeting, all wearing the same color t-shirts and speaking about the same issue. It didn’t take any money to pull that off, but the impact was significant.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and participated in the 2016 Neighborhood Development Training Conference.