About the Network
The economy is hurting so many in Montgomery County, Maryland’s multicultural neighborhoods. In response, a collaboration of nonprofits, government agencies, and grassroots leaders are linking residents to services – and to each other – in an unprecedented way. The Neighborhood Opportunity Network’s objectives are to:
- Ensure that emergency services are reaching those who need it most.
- Leverage other community resources to sustain long-term recovery for those in crisis.
- Create new, sustainable networks of mutual support in targeted neighborhoods.
- Increase the number of people embarking or staying on a path toward secure employment and greater economic empowerment.
Read about the Neighborhood Opportunity Network in:
Here’s what’s going on:
Neighbor Corps [watch the video]
Composed of neighborhood leaders, government field workers, and community partners, these teams are the campaign’s coordinating force in three target neighborhoods across the county.
Waves of resident volunteers are being trained to knock on doors, meet their neighbors, hear their stories, give them information about available services, and refer them to new Neighborhood Service Centers in each target neighborhood.
When residents come to the Service Centers, they are greeted and supported by Community Connectors, culturally-competent residents trained in the emergency service application process to help their neighbors get the services they need.
These participatory sessions are organized for large groups of residents to meet resource providers from the community to address real-time issues in health care, housing, finances, and jobs.
Small groups of neighbors are creating new networks of mutual support by meeting in their homes on a regular basis, building relationships, and identifying specific ways to help one another (sharing child care responsibilities, carpooling, etc).
Take a look at our diagram to see how all of this fits together!
The Neighborhood Opportunity Network partners completed a four-month pilot in June 2009 and then launched into a full-fledged collaboration that summer. Each year, the goals of the Network are to facilitate:
- The dissemination of information about available services to 10,000 households
- A better understanding of the emergency needs in our county by neighborhood
- 1,250 emergency triage sessions
- 12 Neighbors Exchange sessions
- 12 Neighbor Circles
- 400 concrete self-help steps to improve families
- New, long-term connections between resource providers and residents
- A substantial increase in the number of people who feel greater comfort using available services
- Creation of new and diverse networks of residents in all target neighborhoods