Step 3: Second Floor
Empowerment enables stakeholders to implement action plans which improve the local housing ecosystem. Strong relationships build stakeholders' capacity and increase the success of projects.
Working together helps stakeholders build trust in the community and limits the desire to compete for resources. A supportive network of empowering institutions helps to ensure that partners can sustain strategies and projects long term.
Empowerment through collaboration is a critical step in building the capacity needed to implement housing strategies. Collaboration helps stakeholders have access to more resources, knowledge, and funding than they could obtain on their own while building trust.
Working together cultivates a culture of shared success among stakeholders and is critical to maintaining the momentum needed to implement future projects and strategies.
Community engagement is also critical at this stage because it empowers residents to participate in the strategies' design and implementation, and creates opportunities for gaining their support.
Projects are much more likely to be succeed if community members are empowered to contribute their input to important decisions and to help build support for implementation.
Implementation partners must also be empowered. Local organizations, funders, and governments all have a role in empowering partners with the tools and support they need to implement strategies.
Local housing-focused organizations can vocalize support, supply staff resources, and apply for funding where appropriate.
Local funders can support implementation work by gathering and supplying funds while also vocalizing support.
Local government leaders can empower stakeholders by gathering resources only accessible to governmental entities, vocalizing support, and sharing resources where appropriate.
Gaining this institutional and community support is a crucial step in the housing planning process because partners need reliable sources of empowerment to ensure that their work can continue in the future.
Data & Metrics
Empowerment can be measured using both quantitative and qualitative data. Data on projects and strategies should measure impacts on community members - not just total number of individuals who benefit from each project - but also their age, race, and income level.
Community engagement and empowerment around housing is not sustainable unless stakeholders know precisely how their projects and strategies are affecting residents in the area. Tracking data on the residents who benefit from projects will ensure that community-level support is both attainable and sustainable.
Other project effects on the housing ecosystem that you may want to track include:
- Impacts on property values.
- Number of housing units created.
- Affordability of housing units created.
- Number of jobs created.
- Relationships built or strengthened.
Partner engagement is a qualitative measure that can demonstrate empowerment. The establishment of new funding streams, continued participation of engaged stakeholders, and attraction of new partners can show that interventions have positive effects on the housing ecosystem.
The number and quality of stakeholders engaged in the planning committee as well as the number and quality of new partners should be evaluated every year. Doing so will demonstrate the strength of collaborative efforts and the attractiveness of the strategies implemented.
Empowerment should be a consideration throughout the housing planning process. Stakeholders should discuss community and partner engagement starting in the design phase and should continue empowerment activities throughout implementation.
The planning committee should annually evaluate the quality of engagement with its implementation and supporting partners. Community empowerment is also an important reason to bring people together to celebrate the successes of the housing plan.