A nonprofit, community development corporation dedicated to improving Calumet Region neighborhoods.

programs > "please, have a seat!"

Recipients of NI's "Please, Have A Seat!"
program enjoy the festivities at a celebration
held in their honor in March of 2012.

The PHAS! program was created by NI in 2010 to bring neighbors together socially and was the first time in the United States that such a community development project had been tried. This public safety project addresses community cohesiveness issues by promoting formation of neighborhood networks in East Chicago, Hammond, Gary/Miller and Highland by focusing on reversing the trend of residents retreating indoors or to their back yards.

The concept focuses on creating “micro-parks” in homeowners' front yards, immediately adjacent to sidewalks, to encourage neighbor socialization. Since 2010, NI has installed a total of 65 benches in four northern Lake County municipalities. The neighborhood bonds created over casual conversation go beyond a park bench. When neighbors engage socially they begin to look out for each other, thus creating a safer block. Creating small, attractive, unintrusive places to meet in front yards provides a welcome place for neighbors to trust and understand one another. These alcoves are creating bonds of friendship and camaraderie on blocks where benches are located.