Our Community Planning and Advocacy approach centers around the three neighborhoods surrounding our affordable housing developments. Our work integrates many different sectors to address community needs, with the purpose of ensuring that these neighborhoods are safe, clean, and vibrant places to live, work, and visit!
WHEDco’s philosophy of place-based community development roughly follows the following model:
- Community Engagement: A wide array of initiatives that include regular arts programming and free community events.
- Research: In collaboration with our Research Department, the Community Development team studies the community’s assets, its needs, as well as its history, culture, and character, and the built environment that surrounds it; additionally, we host, attend, or facilitate visioning meetings and focus groups.
- Advocacy: Our advocacy efforts usually arise in response to immediate or pressing quality-of-life concerns, such as poor lighting, blight conditions, garbage or pest control, graffiti, drugs, and high crime rate, and they require an external entity to address or take action (mainly, the City).
- Program Design: WHEDco determines how to address challenges and effect change, through Community Development, another department or program, or a combination.
- Program Implementation: Depending on the community’s needs, the nature of programs may vary widely, including: long-term implementation of regular cultural programming, as in the case of the Bronx Music Heritage Center; permanent or temporary public art installations, as in the case of the Boogie Down Booths or murals; ongoing efforts to engage residents, local merchants, and other stakeholders to advocate for improvements to their communities, among other initiatives.
- Evaluation: WHEDco evaluates program impact using a community-informed approach that includes surveys, among other tools.