Step 1: Foundation Alignment
Alignment is the first step in building a housing plan. Creating alignment maximizes the impact of monetary and organizational resources on a housing ecosystem.
Ensuring that all partners and funders use their resources for common goals helps enable collaborative efforts that actually result in improved housing conditions.
Alignment helps reduce duplication of work, misunderstanding of roles, mission creep, and service gaps, which empowers all actors to do their best and most efficient work.
To bring about reliable alignment, stakeholders should begin to meet consistently to establish and maintain strong working relationships that support the local housing ecosystem. If working relationships are not already established, those assembled can use a third-party facilitator to help organize how the group will communicate, distribute responsibilities, and use resources.
Stakeholders should use committee meetings to discuss issues in their housing ecosystem to better understand the roles and responsibilities of all the organizations working in the housing field and to identify shared priorities.
One alignment activity that sets the direction for collaboration is the creation of an asset map, which identifies the locations of strengths and weaknesses in the local housing ecosystem. The process of creating a housing asset map opens opportunities for stakeholders to begin discussing projects and setting priorities for the intended plan, which will often lead to questions of funding.
Inventory Funding and Partnership Sources
Another critical aligning task for stakeholders is to inventory potential sources of funding and partnership for housing development projects categorized by geography, sector, and use. This process helps stakeholders form ideas about potential projects, identify shared priorities, and pinpoint any voices that might be missing at the table.
Other Alignment Activities
Aligning partnering groups will help:
- Identify organizations already working in your region's housing ecosystem.
- Find zoning ordinances, other information, and historic maps of your community.
Data & Metrics
To gain a better understanding of housing needs in your community, you should gather the following data from the Census website:
- Total number of housing units
- Number of renter and owner households
- Neighborhood and population statistics
- Major industries and occupations
The typical timeframe for establishing new working relationships among housing stakeholders is six months to one year. Keep in mind that:
- Communities with existing relationships should plan to use three months' time to strengthen these and to create ground rules for collaboration.
- During the planning process, housing stakeholders should meet monthly as a committee.
- After the planning process, stakeholders should continue to meet regularly to ensure that alignment is maintained.
- With this strong foundation, the design of the housing ecosystem can take shape.