There is a wealth of non-profits, governmental entities, civic and advocacy groups in Springfield that provide important information, programs and services to the Springfield community. These community resources help meet community needs and can be essential in stabilizing individuals and families. However, resource groups often face challenges meaningfully connecting with intended recipients in underserved areas of the city. Therefore, people from low-income communities often don’t adequately access available programs, services and information.
The Urban Action Network’s (UAct) Smart Neighborhood Campaign has two simple goals:
- to increase access to important community information and resources by underserved populations
- to enhance resource partners’ ability to meet the needs of underserved people
UAct’s Neighborhood Outreach Workers (OWs) will assist community resource partners by disseminating their important information to or obtaining feedback from targeted underserved populations in small targeted outreach “campaigns”.
Our Outreach Workers serve as a direct link between resource providers and underserved people. DeAndre Neal and Aaron Pinkston-El, UAct’s Neighborhood Outreach Workers, are grass-roots activists who live and work directly with underserved community members. Both have developed trusted relationships among underserved populations, are familiar with local social services and systems and are devoted to community development.
In our first Partner Campaign, Friends of Transit, SMTD, and the Urban Action Network teamed up to assist SMTD assess their new route system.
With input from the partners, UAct developed a 14-question survey that included rider demographics and satisfaction questions. UAct’s Neighborhood Outreach Workers conducted 94 in-person surveys that elicited valuable information for SMTD as they seek to improve their services. Partners expect to continue working together to provide new route education forums, route information dissemination and more.
UAct is partnering with Downtown Springfield Inc. to conduct outreach to East Springfield residents, leaders, organizations and businesses for the Levitt Music Series presenting concerts every Thursday night on the “Y Block” in Springfield. DeAndre Neal, Aaron Pinkston-El and Allissa Hall are establishing personal contacts and disseminating materials across the community.
The Springfield Park District has also partnered with us to promote the many Park District programs to the East Springfield community. Our Neighborhood Outreach Workers, DeAndre and Aaron, are disseminating the SPD summer program guide and promoting the summer movie night series within the East Springfield community.