SAMPLE DOCUMENT: Rocky Mountain HDC Inclusiveness Blueprint

SAMPLE DOCUMENT

 

Rocky Mountain HDC Inclusiveness Blueprint

 

I. Introduction

Purpose: Rocky Mountain HDC began out of a commitment, by founding board members, to inclusiveness in the provision of housing in Colorado. In developing its 2004-2006 Strategic Plan, Rocky Mountain HDC focused on increasing the number of housing units for persons with very low-to moderate-incomes; providing quality supportive services to our residents; becoming financially self-sufficient; and expanding the organization to achieve its mission. Our inclusiveness initiative is part of our effort to build our organizational capacity by focusing on how we can continue to effectively address the need for affordable housing in a diverse community.

Definition of inclusiveness and diversity: For Rocky Mountain HDC, diversity means the representation of persons of varying backgrounds. Inclusiveness means excluding no one because of race, age, religion, cultural appearance, sexual orientation, ethnic heritage, or gender expression.

Case statement: Rocky Mountain HDC, Inc. implements inclusiveness in four areas: 1) people being served by the agency; 2) staff; 3) board of directors; and 4) volunteers. Inclusiveness means excluding no one because of race, age, religion, cultural appearance, sexual orientation, ethnic heritage, or gender expression. For staff, board and volunteers, inclusiveness means proactively seeking persons who differ from one another in these stated characteristics. For the board, inclusiveness also means seeking persons of varying economic status, including representatives of the populations being served.

We seek such inclusiveness with an expectation that persons of varying backgrounds have much to give to and learn from one another.

While we have been non-discriminatory since our inception, we contemplate that by becoming more intentionally inclusive, each person associated with Rocky Mountain HDC will enjoy a better experience.

Process used to create the inclusiveness blueprint: To create its inclusiveness blueprint, Rocky Mountain HDC formed an inclusiveness committee, led by the executive director and composed of four board members and three to five staff members. Staff members represent administration, family services, fundraising and property management. Volunteer representatives will also be added to the committee in 2007. The committee members reviewed the areas that were important to the organization in the inclusiveness process and chose to focus on board, staff, volunteers, programs and community relations. Each committee member was assigned the task of collecting information on at least one of our focus areas. The information collected was reviewed by the committee and used to develop our blueprint.

 

II. Methodology

Communities: We determined that our communities are the areas where our properties are located and the surrounding neighborhood. Demographic data on our residents was collected from information on resident housing applications. Our surrounding community data was gathered from 2000 Census information.

Field: Housing costs have a tremendous impact on people of color. According to the Urban Institute, rates of housing hardship for African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are twice as high as those for Asians and whites ( Staveteig, Sarah and Wigton, Alyssa. 2000. Racial and Ethnic Disparities. Key Findings from the National Survey of America's Families. The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.). These troubling findings underscore the importance of Rocky Mountain HDC's efforts to ensure that our residents of color are provided with opportunities to improve their social and economic well-being and that people of color are included in discussions about affordable housing and supportive services.

Stakeholders: Our internal stakeholders are board members, staff members and volunteers and external stakeholders are residents and community partners. Stakeholder perspectives from board, staff and volunteers were generated from the online survey developed by Omni Institute.

For resident perspectives, our inclusiveness consultant facilitated a community meeting at Arapahoe Green addressing cultural conflicts at the property. The meeting was held July 26, 2006 at the Arapahoe Green community center. There were 30 - 40 residents in attendance.

Resident perspectives were also collected from focus groups at our sites conducted by the inclusiveness consultant. Following is information from the inclusiveness consultant on the methodology used for the focus groups:

Informed Consent: Each of the focus group participants was given an informed consent form. Consultant went over it in detail and collected signed documents.

Methodology: Consultant read each question and recorded the comments as accurately as possible.

Validity: The focus groups were held during a 30 day period and consultant believes the information to be valid.

Dates:

Arapahoe Green - January 29

Willow Green - February 5

Foothills Green - February 22

One variable was the weather. The Arapahoe Green and Willow Green focus groups were held shortly after the big storm. The Foothills Green focus group was rescheduled due to the weather and was finally held well after the snow melted. The responses reflect this variable change.

Sample size varied which could affect the data validity. Ten residents participated at Arapahoe Green, two at Willow, and three at Foothills. Despite the sample sizes, there tended, however, to be consensus among each group particular to their individual housing developments.

For these focus groups, a decision was made not to address inclusiveness "head-on" but to ask more about "protective factors" around community, peers, and RMHDC programs.

In addition to the above information, we will integrate data generated from the focus group conducted in 2006 at Foothills Green by the Lakewood Diversity Council. Results from this focus group are pending.

Perspectives of community partners will be collected through focus groups or interviews planned for 2007.

Organization: Organizational data on board, staff, and volunteers was gathered from internal information.

 

III. Key Findings from Information Gathered Pertaining to the Organization as a Whole

Strengths: RMHDC is generally serving communities that demonstrate rich diversity. Likewise, the staff represents a solid cross section of ethnic groups.

Weaknesses: The Board of Directors and volunteers that serve our residents do not reflect the same diversity as discovered in the areas of staff and residents.

 

IV. Key Findings from Information Gathered in Each Prioritized Category and a Plan for Each Prioritized Category

Board of Directors

Available Facts

1. Race/ethnicity

  • Staff Residents Volunteers
  • Hispanic/Latino 16.7% 6.25% 27% 0%
  • White 75% 62.5% 38% 95%
  • African-American/Black 0% 25% 25% 5%
  • Native American 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Asian 8.3% 0% 3% 0%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Multiracial 0% 6.25% Included in "other" 0%
  • Other 0% 0% 7% 0%

 

Stakeholder Perspectives (from online survey)

(1=Strongly Disagree; 6=Strongly Agree)

People of color generally feel comfortable serving as members of the board of directors of this organization: 5.65

People of color generally serve as directors for the same amount of time, or longer, than do white people: 4.95

The board of directors of this organization considers issues relating to race and ethnicity when it sets it policies: 5.90

Perceptions of organizational effectiveness in Board Governance: 4.35 (1=Very Ineffective; 5=Highly Effective)

 

Key Findings

  • People of color are underrepresented on the Board of Directors.

Action Plan

Issue: RMHDC needs to examine the board recruiting processes to address the discrepancy in the representation of people of color.

Goals

1. Retain individuals of color as board members

Outcome: Individuals of color are retained on the board of directors for at least two years

Activities

  • Include people of color in leadership positions

Timeline: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in 2008

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

  • Develop orientation process for new board members that reinforces the organization's culture of inclusiveness

Timeline: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

 

2. Improve recruitment efforts from communities of color

Outcome: Formal, consistent efforts are in place to recruit individuals of color to our board of directors

Activities

  • Review recruitment process for new board members

Timeline: ongoing, beginning in Fall 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

  • Ensure that Board Development Committee addresses inclusiveness and diversity in its activities

Timeline: ongoing with annual evaluation beginning in 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

  • Participate in annual cultural and diversity trainings

Timeline: annually, beginning in 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

  • Encourage participation from diverse communities in non-board committees as an introduction to the organization (coordinate with marketing and community relations efforts to reach diverse communities)

Timeline: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in Fall 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

  • Consistently encourage resident board participation

Timeline: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in December 2007

Responsible party: Board Development Committee, Executive Director, other RMHDC directors

Resources: existing funding in organizational budget for board development

 

Personnel/Staff

Available Facts

1. Race/ethnicity

  • Hispanic/Latino 6.25% 16.7% 27% 0%
  • White 62.5% 75% 38% 95%
  • African-American/Black 25% 0% 25% 5%
  • Native American 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Asian 0% 8.3% 3% 0%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Multiracial 6.25% 0% Included in "other" 0%
  • Other 0% 0% 7% 0%

 

Stakeholder Perspectives (from online survey)

(1=Strongly Disagree; 6=Strongly Agree)

People of color and white people with similar professional backgrounds and skills are recruited equally at this organization: 5.85

People of color and white people with similar professional background and skills are promoted equally at this organization: 5.90

I feel this organization has been able to effectively retain people of color: 5.30

I feel that my race or ethnicity has prevented me from receiving the professional support I need to excel: 1.71

I have received fair and unbiased feedback regarding the performance of my job: 4.57

My performance has been evaluated fairly and objectively: 5.57

Staff members of color are equally distributed throughout all levels of the organization: 4.71

Perceptions of organizational effectiveness in human resource management: (1=Very Ineffective; 5=Highly Effective): 3.85

 

Key Findings

  • RMHDC has made some strides in developing a qualified, diverse staff.

Action Plan

Issue: RMHDC is committed to continuously seeking qualified staff members who represent persons from diverse cultures. We want to ensure that policies are in place to promote such hiring and retention.

Goals

1. Increase potential for inclusiveness and diversity in the staff through hiring policies

Outcome: RMHDC incorporates and maintains a formal hiring policy that reaches a diverse group of candidates

Activities

  • Advertise in culturally sensitive newspapers as well as mainstream sources

Timeframe: ongoing

Responsible Party: Executive Director & other RMHDC directors

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for staff development

  • Review policy and procedure manuals to ensure the greatest degree of sensitivity is in place for racial and cultural diversity

Timeframe: By June 2007

Responsible Party: Executive Director & Director of Administration

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for staff development

 

 

2. Maintain high level of cultural competency among the staff

Outcome: RMHDC has a high retention of qualified, culturally competent staff members

Activities

  • Provide at least one training annually on cultural and racial diversity to ensure that staff continues to have cultural awareness and sensitivity

Timeframe: annually, beginning in June 2007

Responsible Party: Executive Director & Other RMHDC Directors

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for staff development and consultant/trainer

 

Program

Our residents and the surrounding communities

Available Facts

Demographics

 

Foothills Green Townhomes, Lakewood CO 80401

Colorado zip code 80401 (Zip code tabulation from factfinder.census.gov: Census 2000 demographic information)

Families at Foothills Green3

  • Hispanic/Latino 6.3% 27%
  • White 88.3% 46%
  • African-American/Black 0.8% 10%
  • Native American 1% 0%
  • Asian 2.5% 7%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
  • Other 0.1% 10%
  • Multiracial 1.5% 0%4

 

Arapahoe Green Townhomes, Unincorporated Arapahoe County, CO 80247

Colorado zip code 80246 (80247 not available)

Families at Arapahoe Green

  • Hispanic/Latino 21.4% 19%
  • White 73.3% 18%
  • African-American/Black 7.4% 61%
  • Native American 0.7% 0%
  • Asian 5.2% 0%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0.1% 0%
  • Other 8.5% 2%
  • Multiracial 4.8% 0%

Willow Green Townhomes, Arvada, CO 80003

Colorado zip code 80003 Families at Willow Green

  • Hispanic/Latino 15% 37%
  • White 77.8% 48%
  • African-American/Black 0.9% 7%
  • Native American 0% 0%
  • Asian 3.9% 1%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0.1% 0%
  • Other 0.1% 7%
  • Multiracial 1.7% 0%

 

2 3 Resident demographic information is available on housing applications

4 Residents who self identified as multiracial are listed under "other"

Stakeholder Perspectives on program (from online survey) (1=Strongly Disagree; 6=Strongly Agree)

This organization works effectively with communities of color to design and implement culturally relevant and effective programs: 5.60

This organization is effective in outreaching and serving communities of color: 5.80

This organization works with translators and interpreters to effectively serve communities of color: 5.40

Perception of organizational effectiveness in Program Delivery (1=Very Ineffective; 5=Highly Effective): 4.30

 

Stakeholder Perspectives from residents

The inclusiveness consultant facilitated a community meeting at Arapahoe Green in July, 2006, addressing cultural conflicts at the property. Following is the consultant's analysis of resident perspectives from the meeting:

RMHDC asked me to facilitate an Arapahoe Green community meeting in response to a horseplay between two youth that escalated into a racially charged fight.

30-40 residents attended the meeting. It was a difficult audience to work because of the size of the group (I expected 10 - 15 people) and the age range (elementary to adult). It was also a very transient group in that attendees were coming and going throughout the evening.

I think that that the size of the group indicated a greater interest in the topic of inclusiveness than anticipated.

I facilitated the group through a process hoping to get the residents to become more familiar with each other and to encourage residents to talk about their cultural backgrounds and past experiences. Everyone willingly participated.

The session ended with an agreement by the group to abide by a set of community norms that mirror those of the Arapahoe Green community.

This meeting resulted in the series of focus groups held January 29 - February 22 of this year.

 

Stakeholder Perspectives from resident focus groups (Analysis performed by inclusiveness consultant)

For these focus groups, a decision was made not to address inclusiveness "head-on" but to ask more about "protective factors" around community, peers, and RMHDC programs.

During 2007, meetings will specifically address the issues of inclusiveness and diversity.

 

Inclusiveness Analysis:

Housing - There is distrust with onsite building management and maintenance staff at Arapahoe, although there is a high level of trust for [Family Services staff members].

Willow is a newer property and there are still a few "warranty" problems with cracking seals and weatherization that should be handled on a community basis. Residents at Foothills thought that the physical layout of the community is more conducive for neighbors to meet one another - it seems to be "more like a neighborhood" and it's "off the main streets but still very convenient". All respondents thought that there should be better enforcement of rules for residents to keep their porches cleaned up.

Occupancy - There were concerns about extended families living in homes designed for fewer people. Two divergent perspectives were expressed: families should follow the occupancy limits; and some cultural groups have a need to keep extended family together.

American housing occupancy definitions may not apply to some families.

Community Areas - The Arapahoe community building was used by all the respondents.

They liked the computers for the kids. It is a good place for kids. Family Services Coordinator makes it a welcoming environment. The Willow community building is less used because it is not open at times when the respondents could use it. One respondent said it seemed like she is the only one to use it. Foothills community building was used because of Scouts and other programs.

Stakeholder perception analysis is pending from the focus group at Foothills Green conducted by Lakewood Diversity Council.

Key Findings

  • Our residential communities are more diverse than their surrounding areas
  • Residents want improved communication between RMHDC staff and residents and among each other.

Action Plan

Issue: Our residents live in communities that are less diverse than our properties. RMHDC needs to ensure that our residents have access to community resources. In addition, RMHDC will encourage community participation and develop activities that bridge the cultural gap between residents.

Goals

1. Provide ongoing youth and family programming that exposes residents to culturally diverse settings

Outcome: Residents are comfortable with and knowledgeable about their surrounding communities and community resources


Activities

  • Integrate residents with community wide celebrations and activities (such as The City of Lakewood Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative)

Timeframe: Quarterly, beginning February 2007

Responsible Party: Family Services (FS) Coordinators with FS Supervisor/Director of

Volunteers and FS oversight

Resources: existing Family Services budget for supplies and transportation, support from City of Lakewood Diversity Committee

 

2. Provide ongoing activities designed to unite residents at our sites

Outcome: Residents will develop relationships with each other and feel more comfortable with diverse cultures

Activities

  • Provide diversity workshops and trainings for adults and youth

Timeframe: Quarterly, beginning June 2007

Responsible Party: FS Coordinators with FS Supervisor/Director of Volunteers and FS oversight

Resources: existing Family Services budget and budget for ENII workshops and/or seminars. Support from Assets for Youth Colorado and Denver Quality After-School Connection

 

3. Continue providing leadership opportunities for residents

Outcome: Residents develop a sense of community ownership and an ability to make an impact on the factors that influence their lives

Activities

  • Consistently provide residents with opportunities to participate in Resident Activities Council

Timeframe: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in December 2007

Responsible Party: FS Supervisor and Director of Volunteers and FS

Resources: existing Family Services budget

  • Continue to develop youth leadership program

Timeframe: ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in December 2007

Responsible Party: FS Coordinators with FS Supervisor/Director of Volunteers and FS

Resources: existing Family Services budget for youth development

 

Volunteers

Available Facts

1. Race/ethnicity Volunteers

  • Hispanic/Latino 0% 16.7% 6.25% 27%
  • White 95% 75% 62.5% 38%
  • African-American/Black 5% 0% 25% 25%
  • Native American 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Asian 0% 8.3% 0% 3%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific
  • Islander
  • 0% 0% 0% 0%
  • Multiracial 0% 0% 6.25% Included
  • in "other"
  • Other 0% 0% 0% 7%

 


Stakeholder Perspectives (from online survey) (1=Strongly Disagree; 6=Strongly Agree)

Efforts are made to have volunteers and helpers reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the community eligible for services at this organization: 5.45

Training programs are offered for volunteers and helpers to help them work more effectively with communities of color: 4.90

This organization actively supports and retains volunteers of color: 5.75

This organization works effectively with communities of color to design and implement culturally relevant and effective programs: 5.60

This organization is effective in outreaching and serving communities of color: 5.80

This organization works with translators and interpreters to effectively serve communities of color: 5.40

Perceptions of organizational effectiveness in Working with Volunteers: (1=Very Ineffective; 5=Highly Effective): 3.85

Key Findings

  • People of color are underrepresented in volunteer base

Action Plan

Issue: RMHDC needs to continue to build volunteer support based on need and population served

Goals

1. Offer volunteer opportunities to a larger and more diverse population

Outcome: Volunteer diversity is increased by 5-10% at each site by end of 2007

Activities

  • Develop partnerships with volunteer agencies, collaborative partners and area non-profit

organizations:

  • Volunteer Match & Metro Volunteers
  • African American Leadership Institute
  • Colorado Non-Profit Association (CNA)
  • JeffCo Action Center
  • Aurora, JeffCo, and Denver Housing Authorities

Timeframe: Monthly, began January 2007

Responsible Party: Director of Volunteers and Family Services (FS)

Resources: existing Family Services budget


  • Recruit support and volunteers of color from church organization / members
  • Berkeley United Church of Christ (North)
  • Lakewood United Church of Christ (West)
  • Park View United Church of Christ (East)
  • Lowry Community Christian Church (East)
  • Grace Church of Arvada
  • Other denominations that reflect a culturally diverse base of support

Timeframe: Ongoing, with annual evaluation beginning in December 2007

Responsible Party: Director of Volunteers and FS

Resources: existing Family Services budget; support from Volunteer Match and Metro Volunteers

Create larger community awareness for supportive family services with Denver area school-based groups: Denver Quality After-School Connection (DQUAC)

Timeframe: Bi-weekly meetings, began Summer 2006

Responsible Party: FS Supervisor/ Director of Volunteers and FS

Resources: existing Family Services budget; support from DQUAC

 

Marketing and Community Relations

Available Facts

RMHDC uses special events, an informational brochure, newsletters, a website and mailings to housing organizations as part of its marketing tools; our printed marketing tools reflect a diverse community; marketing tools are not multilingual.

 

Stakeholder Perspectives (from online survey) (1=Strongly Disagree; 6=Strongly Agree)

People of color are depicted in organizational materials: 5.65

I believe this organization is viewed positively by communities of color: 5.90

In the past five years, this organization has participated in cultural, political, religious, or other events or festivals sponsored by or designed for communities of color: 5.55

Perception of organizational effectiveness in Public Relations (1=Very Ineffective; 5=Highly Effective): 3.75

Key Findings

Although Rocky Mountain HDC has made efforts to develop culturally diverse communication tools, there is a lack of participation in the organization by people of color that is reflected in volunteer and board involvement.

Action Plan

Issue: RMHDC needs to address its effectiveness in marketing all facets of the organization to people of color.

Goals

1. Incorporate marketing efforts with the needs of prospective audiences in mind: African American/Black, Latina/o, Asians, Native Americans and other groups

Outcome: organizational capacity is built by developing relationships with communities of color

Activities

  • Research current information on best practices for engaging with diverse communities.

Timeline: By April, 2007

Responsible party: Development Officer and Executive Director

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for marketing

  • Conduct focus groups or interviews to determine perceptions from diverse groups about RMHDC's marketing efforts.

Timeline: By July, 2007

Responsible party: Executive Director, Development Officer, members of Inclusiveness Committee and Inclusiveness consultant

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for ENII consultant and marketing

  • Develop partnerships with multicultural organizations including Chambers of Commerce, churches etc.

Timeline: ongoing

Responsible party: Executive Director and other RMHDC Directors

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for marketing

  • Participate in events or festivals sponsored by or designed for communities of color

Timeline: ongoing

Responsible party: All stakeholders as appropriate

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for marketing

  • Discuss possibility of website translation and developing multilingual brochures

Timeline: by December, 2007

Responsible party: Executive Director, Development Officer and Director of Administration with input from other staff members and consultant

Resources: Existing funding in organizational budget for marketing tools

 

V. Accountability Plan

Rocky Mountain HDC's Inclusiveness Committee, executive director and board president will monitor progress toward meeting the action items in the blueprint. Progress will be discussed in quarterly reports to the board of directors.

At the end of 2007, Rocky Mountain HDC will evaluate its progress by conducting surveys for board, staff and volunteers and residents and using an independent evaluator to assess our overall progress. At this point the board and executive director will determine our next steps for our Inclusiveness Initiative.

 

VI. Conclusion

Our challenge is to move beyond commitment, to continued action, with useful strategies and policies that ensure our cultural competence. We look forward to implementing our inclusiveness blueprint and continuing to formally incorporate inclusiveness into our organizational culture.

 

Rocky Mountain Housing Development Corporation, Inc. website