NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The largest redevelopment and housing authority in the state is ramping up efforts to keep its Norfolk community safe.

From mental health resources to youth enrichment activities, the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority says it is doing all it can to take back the community after a string of eight shootings and crime since the start of the year.

“I’ve been through hell around the corner when my friends got shot,” said a woman who lives in Young Terrace during the community’s first monthly meeting since the pandemic.

Young Terrace residents are sick of the violence.

“When you’re going through trauma, living day-to-day in your own house, in your own community. These kids are scared. Half of them don’t come outside. Their parents won’t even let them outside,” the woman continued.

Ron Jackson who serves as the executive director of NRHA says the entity is listening to its residents’ concerns.

“We’re not mental health experts, we’re not law enforcement, but we’re always a part of the solution. There’s always a balance between people being able to enjoy their community but also want it to be safe,” Jackson explained.

Jackson told 10 On Your Side several portable security cameras have since been installed in public housing communities.

“We work with Norfolk police to make sure that they can be tied into their system as well so they can help in terms of surveillance,” Jackson stated.

There’s also a private guard service roaming the neighborhood.

In addition to safety, NRHA also partners with Norfolk State to provide educational opportunities for kids.

“You have to keep the youth engaged,” Jackson said.

NRHA offers programs like evening basketball games, studying the travel patterns in bees and even yoga classes to teach teens how to handle stress.

“That’s to teach youth not to be so impulsive,” Jackson explained.

Jackson also sends out resident newsletters with information on how to apply for scholarships, jobs and look out for signs that your child or loved one may be involved in a gang.

“Work with us to be a part of the solution to address the issues in the community,” Jackson said.

The ultimate goal is to show folks they have the power and resources to change their situation.

“You can’t do it alone,” Jackson concluded.

The NRHA hopes to expand its monthly community meetings to include all of its public housing communities while providing people with opportunities to show them they matter.