Living in a community is an essential human necessity. The support we get from our neighbors, families, schools, and local businesses is critical to our health and well-being.
But as a community ages and begins to show signs of deterioration, changes are required to keep it alive and thriving. Here in America, it’s common for developers to target an older neighborhood for “revitalization”; yet too often that means pushing the established residents out and rebuilding the area with new shops, businesses, and expensive homes.
What can the average resident do to strengthen older communities and keep neighbors and families together? The key is understanding the connection between housing, health, and wealth — and then taking strategic steps to fortify all three areas.
You — yes, YOU, a community resident — can be a part of the solution. In fact, when you understand what it takes to build a healthy community, you may be surprised to discover how much of a difference you can make.
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to build — or rebuild — a healthy community. We’ll discuss the qualities and benefits of building healthy communities, how locals can get involved, and explore some resources that can equip you to be a proactive part of the solution.
What Is a Healthy Community?
Maintaining a community that is safe, clean, productive, and mentally stable requires three core elements to functioning effectively: housing, health, and wealth. These three areas are inseparably linked:
• In order for residents to be healthy, they need safe and reliable housing, as well as money to keep it that way.
• Proper housing requires funding and investment to ensure that homes are adequately equipped for their residents.
• Building wealth in a community requires that its residents are healthy, have a safe and dependable home, and have opportunities for generating consistent income.
When all three of these areas are being addressed with the community’s best interests in mind, only then is it possible to begin building a healthy community.
The Benefits of Building Healthy Communities
Building healthy communities is important for a number of reasons:
• When communities are healthy, they are more likely to thrive economically and environmentally.
• Healthy communities have a lower crime rate and a stronger social network.
• Creating a sense of community can help reduce stress and promote social cohesion.
• They are more resilient in the face of natural disasters or other crises.
• They provide opportunities for social and economic mobility for their residents.
• Healthy communities can lead to improved mental health for residents.
• They foster creativity and innovation by encouraging people to come together to problem solve.
• Building healthy communities can have a positive impact on the local economy.
• Building healthy communities helps us connect with our surroundings in ways that can be beneficial both physically and emotionally.
How to Get Involved in Building Healthy Communities
Communities are essential to creating a healthy environment for all residents. But it doesn’t happen without the intentional, proactive efforts of the community members.
There are many ways to get involved in building healthy communities, and everyone has something to contribute. The benefits of community involvement include improved communication and cooperation between neighbors, as well as stronger ties within the community itself.
For example, you may know an elderly neighbor who lives in a home that’s no longer safe for them. Perhaps they’re unable to go up and down their stairs or have mobility issues that prevent them from living independently. However, with some local funding and a few essential home modifications, that neighbor can continue to live in their home and be a part of their beloved community.
Organizations like Omicelo Cares exist to help community members and local business operators to take productive steps toward strengthening their neighborhoods and bringing new life to aging communities. We understand that local resident and business participation is critical for the future well-being of our communities, and there are many ways we can support it.
Resources for Building Healthy Communities
Community leaders and residents need to be aware of the resources available to help them build healthy communities. These resources include programs and policies that promote health, education about health and healthy living, and financial assistance for those looking to make changes in their lifestyle.
Omicelo Cares offers resources to help community leaders implement programs and policies that support a healthy lifestyle and a safer living environment. We believe neighborhoods can create promise for all community members. Our mission is to “CO-POWER existing community members in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to own financial assets, grow their businesses, and lift their incomes.”
We offer several resources that help local community members learn the skills it takes to improve their financial situation and contribute to a more vibrant community:
7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business
We help small businesses by providing deep business support for income growth and sustainability. Our 7 Pillars™ Accelerator advances small businesses through specialized technical assistance and helps these businesses navigate revenue and growth opportunities.
Excel Ahead is a 6-8 week course designed to train individuals on Microsoft Excel, providing them with skills that are currently in demand in the workforce. These skills can also prove valuable to landlords and those who are purchasing and developing real estate.
Real Estate Co-Powerment Series
The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series is an education platform designed to demystify the real estate development process. Through in-class instruction, coaching and mentorship, our goal is to demonstrate how community members, organizations, and small business owners can participate and benefit from their own neighborhood revitalization and learn how to get active projects across the finish line.
The Landlord Experience
The Landlord Experience is a series of courses, offered by Omicelo Cares, that is designed to educate and inform landlords. The goals of this program are to promote effective landlord/tenant engagement, present landlord/tenant resources, and provide a formal understanding of rights as a landlord. Course topics include leases, subsidies, avoiding eviction, and more.
Sign up to be notified about upcoming opportunities to participate in an Omicelo Cares program that can truly make a positive impact on your community.