Is outreach like the bus tour effective? What did you hear from participants?
Yes! There was a lot of excitement from participants. They were excited to learn more about our community and to understand more about affordable housing in Cedar Rapids and Marion. Participants were surprised and impressed by how good the properties look and fit aesthetically in the neighborhoods. It was also important for those attending to see how our community partners and businesses are working together to provide a multitude of different solutions to affordable housing needs.
What could readers do to help your organization?
We need individuals who are willing to advocate for our clients and their affordable housing needs. Horizons helps prepare individuals and families financially to be successful renters and homeowners. Not only are we helping to provide financial literacy, it is a goal to improve the financial capability of our clients for long term success. However, we need there to be support and access to affordable housing so the goal of housing stability can be achieved by these dedicated clients.
What other initiatives are underway to combat the unwarranted stigma of affordable housing?
All the partners who arranged the tour meet on a regular basis to discuss trends in affordable housing and how we are responding to the need. These meetings allow us to collaborate as a community to combat unwarranted stigma of affordable housing.
Where does the community go from here? More tours? Other types of outreach? Awareness campaigns?
We need to keep the conversation going. We need individuals who came on the tour to share their experiences with their friends, colleagues, and neighbors. If we want our communities and future generations to thrive, we need support of affordable housing to be the norm. It’s critical to the health and well-being of children and families in our community.
• Adriane Moline is financial health and wellness manager at Horizons, A Family Service Alliance.