MTW Expansion Training

Involving Residents and Communities

Getting buy-in from residents and community stakeholders about MTW activities is a cornerstone of a successful MTW program. The process of engaging with residents and the community begins when the agency applies to the MTW program and continues as it plans new MTW activities, implements new processes, and reports on outcomes.

Agencies are required to involve residents and community stakeholders by providing an opportunity to review and comment on the annual MTW Supplement, and through participation in a Resident Advisory Board (RAB) or tenant association. But agencies may choose to foster more extensive involvement to build buy-in and local support.

While there is no one ‘right’ way to engage residents and the surrounding community, successful strategies generally include:

  • Establish trust
  • Educate residents about MTW
  • Be inclusive
  • Come prepared

Paul Vranicar (Atlanta Housing Authority), Nicole Beydler (Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino), Jennifer Rainwater (Formerly, Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo), and Karen DuBois-Walton (Housing Authority of the City of New Haven) share insights and lessons learned when it comes to engaging residents and the community in MTW activities.

Your MTW program is not going to materialize in a vacuum. Your agency has a history in the community. Be sure to build on the successes you’ve had and learn from any pitfalls you’ve encountered along the way. The relationships and skills you have built over time will help you effectively engage the community in the MTW program.

Can’t Hold an In-Person Community Meeting?

Gathering community members and stakeholders in a room to share information with them and gather their input is one way to engage the community, but doing so may not always be possible or practical. Consider the full range of tools and approaches available to facilitate community involvement. 

  • Utilize online meeting platforms to host virtual community meetings. Be sure to become well-versed in facilitation techniques specific to hosting virtual meetings.
  • Audio-only conference calls don’t allow for sharing visual images but may be a more realistic option for residents with limited internet access, computer access, or tech savvy.
  • Explore opportunities to meet with residents and community members outside of larger groups, such as in conjunction with existing one-on-one or small-group meetings.

Remember, community engagement is a critical part of developing MTW initiatives, so get creative about the options available for involving residents in your efforts.