SCRCOG is working closely with grassroots leaders and municipal officials to facilitate conversation and collaboration among residents, in order to move forward together on housing creation and other key issues. Through discussions, information sessions, and other gatherings — held in community centers, libraries, houses of worship, and residents’ homes — diverse and growing groups of residents are learning from each other, discovering the interests they all share, and building together on that common ground.
Municipal leaders have expressed particular interest in community engagement around creating housing options that are accessible for all residents:
- Implementing the strategies and goals outlined in municipal affordable housing plans
- Educating residents and decision-makers on housing possibilities, as well as the purpose and contents of their town’s affordable housing plans
- Addressing residents’ concerns and questions about affordable housing
SCRCOG believes that our towns’ shared goals — creating housing, transportation, development, and services that work for all — can only be reached when everyone has a chance to participate, to tell their stories and share their experiences, and to be heard. When people feel they are being listened to and respected, they will respect and listen to others, even when there are differences of opinion and perspective.
SCRCOG has hired a consultant with expertise in bringing communities together across divides. Ben Fink, Ph.D., works with communities from the rural coalfields of Kentucky to the urban centers of West Baltimore to create the conditions for people of all kinds to share stories and make change. His work in organizing, economic development, and the arts has been featured by Salon.com, the Brookings Institution, MIT, Harvard Law School, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2020 Ben was recognized by Time Magazine as one of “27 People Bridging Divides Across America.”
A news story from Woodbridge: https://www.woodbridgetownnews.com/news/housing-group-to-engage-people-in-small-group-settings-to-start-a-conversation
An announcement from Hamden: https://www.hamden.com/885/Housing-Initiatives
How-to guides on key community engagement techniques:
- Power mapping
- Identifying communities’ centers of power
- One-to-one relational meetings
- Facilitating community conversations
SCRCOG hosts regular trainings in community engagement techniques and principles, open to all. The next training will take place on October 12, 2023. View the flyer below for more information.
For questions and inquiries, please contact Stephanie Camp, Regional Planner, at [email protected]