HASCO, a social housing agency in Snohomish County, WA, United States, sought to initiate a partnership with Instituto Elos to support the approval of a new housing project in the city of Lynnwood, WA. The project aims to provide more subsidized housing units to accommodate the growing demand from low-income families. The possibility of this project generated tensions in the territory, primarily due to concerns about potential negative impacts of the initiative, such as an increase in violence and waste in the neighborhood, overload of the road system, drug use, as well as cultural and ethnic conflicts.
Elos has developed extensive experience in community mobilization and social work in housing projects, which is why we received and accepted the invitation to work in a different context than in Brazil. Applying the Elos philosophy, we conducted a mapping, offered listening sessions, and gathered impressions and perspectives from the stakeholders involved. We also expanded dialogue with local organizations and the public sector.
With the findings from these conversations, we identified the central issues within this project. Simultaneously, we provided mentorship to the CEO and technical team of HASCO to establish dialogue and relationships with stakeholders.
An initial diagnosis brought evidence of how to enhance opportunities that were not previously visible. Through an embracing approach to the different views of stakeholders, genuine listening to their concerns, and a willingness to co-create solutions that could bring well-being to the entire community, we achieved the first stage of the project: unanimous approval in the planning council and municipal council to proceed with the project.
“The result was surprising and recognized as an impact of our work on listening and strengthening relationships with different local stakeholders,” says Paulo Farine, manager of the Solutions department at Elos. We are now working on the second stage, where we will continue our approach and stakeholder mapping, with a focus on the immediate neighborhood of the developments, creating safe spaces for dialogue and seeking solutions that encompass the different voices of the area.
Diretor Executivo da Housing Authority of Snohomish County (HASCO)
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