"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Chinese proverb
A key theme at Habitat on the Hill is the creative, albeit, sometimes unlikely partnerships that are developing due to reduced funding. This tightening of the belt is being faced at all levels -- from governmental agencies to nonprofits to the individual families served by Habitat affiliates across the country. While the economic environment is challenging at best, there is a silver lining.
In realizing that we can't do it all ourselves, we're also discovering that we can create even greater, positive change when we work together. One such example was a recent, creative collaboration between HUD, the EPA, and the Department of Transportation to provide public transportation to lower income communities. Affordable transportation for those who need it? Check. A program that is good for the environment? Check. With funding restrictions, none of these agencies could have accomplished this project alone but, by combining smaller pools of money, they created a program that met all of their goals.
This trend of working together is being seen on the local level, as well. In Raleigh, a local coalition is stopping in its tracks the decline (drugs, crime, boarded up homes) in the Long Acres neighborhood. In fact, the Raleigh police report a 38% decrease in overall crime. None of the players could have accomplished this alone - not the residents, not the City, and not the participating nonprofits, including Habitat. It's exciting to see what is possible when we work together - a bright spot in these dark economic times.
Nancy Jones, a member of the Habitat Wake staff, is representing North Carolina at this week's Habitat on the Hill.