How Affordable Housing Communities Can Boost Social and Economic Mobility

Housing Communities

Affordable housing is more than just a place to live. It can also be a source of empowerment, opportunity, and well-being for low-income residents. However, not all affordable housing communities are equipped with the resources and services that can help residents achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. That’s why resident services coordinators (RSCs) are essential for creating thriving, affordable housing communities that can unlock the potential of their residents.

Housing Communities

What are resident services coordinators, and why are they important?

Resident services coordinators are professionals who work in affordable housing communities to connect residents with various resources and services that can meet their individual needs and aspirations. RSCs can help residents access employment opportunities, job training programs, education, health care, nutrition, veteran services, and more. RSCs can also foster social cohesion and empowerment among residents by organizing events and activities that promote community engagement and leadership.

RSCs are important because they can bridge the gap between residents and the complex network of services and programs that are available to them. Many residents may not have the time, knowledge, or confidence to navigate these systems on their own. RSCs can provide personalized guidance, support, and advocacy to help residents overcome barriers and challenges. RSCs can also monitor and evaluate the impact of the services and programs on residents’ outcomes and satisfaction.

How do resident services coordinators benefit affordable housing communities and society?

Resident services coordinators can benefit affordable housing communities and society in multiple ways. By helping residents improve their skills, income, education, health, and well-being, RSCs can enhance the stability and sustainability of affordable housing communities. RSCs can also reduce the costs and risks associated with eviction, homelessness, health care, and social services. RSCs can also contribute to the social and economic mobility of residents, enabling them to achieve greater self-reliance and independence.

Resident services coordinators can also benefit society by addressing some of the root causes of poverty and inequality in the United States. The U.S. has the highest poverty rate and the lowest social benefits among the 38 OECD member nations. Many Americans lack access to adequate health care, nutrition, child care, senior care, and other essential services that can affect their life chances and opportunities. Affordable housing communities can serve as hubs for delivering these services to low-income residents, and RSCs can play a key role in facilitating and coordinating these efforts.

What are some examples of successful resident services coordinator programs?

There are many examples of successful resident services coordinator programs across the country that have demonstrated positive outcomes for affordable housing communities and residents. Here are some of them:

  • At Grace West Manor, an affordable senior housing community in Newark, New Jersey, RSCs administer a weekly health program that provides preventive screenings, access to health professionals, and health-focused wrap-around services. This program has improved health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and lowered hospital emergency room admissions for the community’s seniors.
  • At The Villages at Roll Hill, an affordable family housing community in Cincinnati, Ohio, RSCs partner with local organizations to offer a variety of services and programs to residents, such as after-school tutoring, summer camps, financial literacy, job readiness, computer classes, and more. These services and programs have increased the academic performance, school attendance, graduation rates, employment rates, and income levels of the residents.
  • At The Residences at Canal Bluffs, an affordable mixed-income housing community in Bourne, Massachusetts, RSCs collaborate with the local community college to provide on-site college courses and career counseling to residents. These courses and counseling have helped residents pursue higher education, obtain certificates and degrees, and advance their careers.

How can resident services coordinators be supported and expanded?

Despite the proven benefits of resident services coordinators, they are not widely available or funded in affordable housing communities. According to a survey by the American Association of Service Coordinators, only 28% of affordable housing communities have RSCs, and most of them rely on limited and uncertain sources of funding, such as grants, donations, and fees. There is a need for more stable and sustainable funding and support for RSCs, especially from the federal government.

One promising development is the recent passage of the Build Back Better Act, which includes $150 billion for affordable housing and community development. This act also authorizes the creation of a new grant program to fund resident services coordinators in affordable housing communities. This program could potentially provide up to $1.5 billion per year for RSCs, which could significantly increase their availability and impact. However, this program still needs to be implemented and appropriated by Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Another way to support and expand resident services coordinators is to raise awareness and recognition of their value and role in affordable housing communities and society. RSCs are often overlooked and underappreciated, despite their vital contributions to the well-being and success of low-income residents. RSCs deserve more respect, recognition, and resources for their work, as well as more opportunities for training, development, and collaboration. RSCs are not just service providers; they are also community builders, advocates, and leaders.

By Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson is a talented junior content and news writer at Scope Sweep. With a passion for writing and a dedication to delivering high-quality content, Andrea has quickly established herself as a valuable contributor to the team. Graduating from the prestigious University of Sydney, she brings a strong academic foundation and a keen eye for detail to her work. Andrea's articles cover a wide range of topics, from breaking news to informative features, ensuring that readers are well-informed and engaged. With her ability to research and present information in a clear and concise manner, Andrea Wilson is committed to providing readers with accurate and captivating content. Stay connected and up-to-date with Andrea's compelling articles on Scope Sweep

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