Foreclosures, unemployment and a weak economy are wreaking havoc in neighborhoods and families across the country. What can neighborhood organizations do while under economic siege?
Here are a few ideas:
• Organize! Fight crime, tutor students, improve parks, and protect neighborhoods against the threats that come with tough times.
• Communicate. Educate and inform residents, public officials, and investors about what’s good in the ‘hood. Use organizing, websites, blogs, and e-newsletters to nurture and sustain relationships necessary to build community.
• Expand capacity of leaders and staff . Grow skills and technology to organize, communicate, develop, and raise funds in today’s (and tomorrow’s) environment.
• Tighten the belt. Focus on the core mission – a necessity now, but a discipline that always pays off.
• Build a project pipeline that will be shovel-ready when the economy revives. Do research, complete designs, prepare pro formas, and establish community support.
• Think green. Future job growth, many predict, will emanate from green technology.
• Identify infrastructure needs – physical and social – and advocate for them.
Public funds soon will flow to rebuild our infrastructure. Communities that are well-organized and "investment-ready" stand the best chance of getting those resources -- and bouncing back first when the economy rebounds.
It won't be easy, but we can't just wait around and do nothing, can we? What are your ideas?