HIP Tool: Community Outreach Plans

Outreach plans provide a strategic road map for bringing key stakeholders and underrepresented groups into the planning process, increasing community awareness and providing opportunities for constructive citizen engagement and community input regarding a planning effort. Plans may contain a background assessment of the issue at hand, why the issue is important, public opinions on the issue and strategies to address potential barriers and community needs.


Background

What issues do community outreach plans and strategies address?

The intent of community outreach is to involve the public in a decision-making process. People are often sensitive to the possibility of neighborhood change. While you may not see affordable housing opportunities as threatening the character of a neighborhood or city, residents may be uncomfortable or resistant for a variety of reasons.

Community outreach gives citizens an opportunity to be heard, to learn more about proposed actions and to participate in shaping development. It also presents an opportunity to bring disenfranchised or underrepresented voices into the conversation. Targeted outreach efforts can reach out to specific groups that are not usually present in the decision-making process.

Outreach provides planners with experiential knowledge to incorporate in policy, an opportunity to educate and invigorate the public on controversial issues, power to counter NIMBY attitudes and an opportunity to collaboratively plan with the public.

Where are community outreach plans and strategies most applicable?

Depending on the issue and scope of interest, outreach can be geared towards an entire city, residents within a given zone, a single neighborhood or population group. Outreach plans are applicable to all project types, focus areas and affordability levels, and may be tailored to meet unique needs. The goal is to increase community understanding and awareness of an issue. While the means for doing this may vary by project, the intent and need for community outreach can apply to all dimensions of affordable housing production.

Community outreach plans and strategies can apply to any jurisdiction interested in engaging the public for a variety of reasons:

  • Soliciting input on a proposed change in policy or an ordinance.
  • Creating a vision for a neighborhood or entire town.
  • Receiving feedback on a proposed development.
  • Connecting citizens interested in working on a particular issue.
  • Understanding the sentiment behind opposition to a policy or development.
  • Educating the public on an unfamiliar issue.
  • Providing facts and information about a contested or controversial issue.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Urban Centers
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques
  • Citizen Education & Outreach

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental
  • Market Rate
  • Subsidized

Affordability Level

  • 80 to 120% AMI
  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Affordability
  • Diversity