NRHA: Community engagement, emotional support needed to help neighborhood heal after mass shooting

Memorial for women shot
Posted at 5:17 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 18:03:45-05

NORFOLK, Va. – It’s been two weeks since a mass shooting brought heartbreak and chaos to the Young Terrace neighborhood of Norfolk, killing three women and injuring two others.

The Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority met Thursday to discuss plans on how to move forward.

News 3 was at the scene when the shooting first happened. But now that time has passed, we checked in with NRHA to see what much needed resources are still being offered.

Consistent community engagement - that's the NRHA’s central focus when it comes to helping the neighborhood heal.

“… in terms of walking, talking, listening to the residents in that community about what they see and what they know and what they want to see,” said NRHA Chief Community Engagement Officer at the NRHA.

And to figure that out, the agency says they are working to develop a civil league so they can work directly with community leaders.

Another major focus is emotional support. Counselors say events like the one that happened in Young Terrace sparks trauma that takes months - or even years - to heal.

So, to help neighborhood residents through this process, several licensed therapists are constantly on site and available for free to young Terrace neighborhood residents.

The NRHA says they are even printing new, big banners to ensure everyone knows these services are available.

Another big step in redevelopment is the Young Terrace neighborhood rec center. It was defunded in July, leaving more than 700 households without access to that kind of facility.

NRHA has recently obtained partial access to the building and is working with community leaders to host evening and weekend events on character development, etiquette and provide recreational sports activities.

“A one-and-done doesn't help anybody. We want ongoing programs. Programs are in reaction to what the residents want. It’s not up to us to say, ‘OK, you want basketball, but we’re going to give you lacrosse.’ We don't want to do that,” said Thomas.

The first event at the rec center is happening Monday, November 22. The rec league is hosting a community feeding event and signing up community members for extracurricular programs.

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Related: Neighbors: Mother of Norfolk mass shooting victim killed after coming to help injured daughter