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  • Writer's picturemdb

Finding support and help: how your community can make a difference

Developing a proactive and collaborative strategy to obtain needed local government approvals and address any community opposition for the project can be done in six steps:

1. The development team meets early to research, assess and plan in the five key areas

outlined below.

2. Prepare a political strategy that coordinates all your work toward getting needed votes.

3. Prepare a strategy to build active community support for your proposal.

4. Prepare a strategy to work through community concerns and deal with active


5. Prepare a strategy to protect and use your legal rights.

6. Prepare a public relations/media strategy to send your message to decision-makers and

the public.

This individual planning approach is like a “due diligence” process, in which you consider and

make deliberate decisions about five key areas that may be important for every development

proposal. Conducting this planning process is not the same as deciding to adopt a high-visibility

entry with early notification of neighbors. Rather, whether to notify neighbors (and, if so, how and

when) is one decision to make in this planning process.

1. Plan meetings to research, assess and plan strategies in five key areas: Schedule two or

more meetings of the entire development team together with local advocates and assign

responsibility for organizing the meetings (e.g. inviting key people) to a staff member. At the first

meeting, assess the following:

• Your organization’s reputation, capacity to attract broad community support, and its

previous experience in dealing with local government, opponents, and the media.

• What local government approvals are required, who will decide, what is the process and

criteria for decisions, and an expected timeline.

• Local government’s current knowledge of and support for supportive housing, your

organization’s work and the current proposal.

• Full analysis of the neighborhood surrounding the proposed site (history, problems, assets,


• Neighbors’ likely concerns, the neighborhood’s experience with similar programs and its

potential for organized oppositions.

• Potential legal issues associated with your development proposal, including your and your

clients’ legal rights.

• The media’s approach to your work and clients.

Make sure your development plan includes at least two

meetings to plan how you will get the government

approvals you need.

#community #team

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