United Way’s leadership and facilitation is making a difference across HRM.
Creating change requires a commitment to bringing people, resources, and ideas together.
United Way Halifax has been playing this leadership role in our community for decades. We have built relationships and trust with many different people and organizations in our community, including: businesses, libraries, schools, volunteers, politicians, and staff in all three levels of government.
Our network is an important part of our ability to make a difference. It creates a unique opportunity for us to bring different partners together, and allows us to lead projects in a collaborative way.
Here are three projects where we have been taking the lead.
Making neighbourhood hubs better, together
Neighbourhood hubs are safe places where people in marginalized communities can access services and resources, and connect with one another. They are one of the most effective ways to reduce and alleviate local poverty. For this reason, United Way Halifax has been investing in neighbourhood hubs for years. We have seen hubs have a positive impact in local communities, including Fairview, Spryfield, East Preston, and Dartmouth North.
In our latest project, called the Future of Neighbourhood Hubs, we’re bringing together people who work at or benefit from neighbourhood hubs. Our goal is to define what a hub is and strives to be, and to build strong connections between them. The benefit of doing this is that hubs will be able to share resources, learn from each other, come up with smart ideas, and solve problems. They will become part of a supportive network, and will enhance their ability to improve local lives.
Creating possibility with East Preston
East Preston is one of the oldest indigenous Black communities in Canada. For decades, residents have lacked many of the municipal services that are fundamental to safety and prosperity. The services they need are ones that many communities, including those neighbouring East Preston, take for granted. They include: sidewalks, crosswalks, lower speed limits, bus shelters, and adequate public transit.
United Way Halifax helped to coordinate a partnership and facilitate a working group to address this need. East Preston community members were part of the group, and their knowledge and local insight led the way.
An action plan was developed, and it outlines why, where and how the services that East Preston needs can be provided. The working group then shared the plan with HRM Council, and advocated for them to help make it happen. Watch this video to learn more about the needs of this local community, and why they’re so important.
129 ideas for solving poverty in HRM
In 2017, the United Way Halifax team took on an ambitious project called Building Poverty Solutions. The project was a collaboration between our organization and Halifax Regional Municipality.
We set out to learn as much as we could about how people are experiencing poverty in rural, suburban, and urban neighbourhoods in HRM. To get there, we led conversations and collected feedback from more than 1,100 residents. We also made sure to consider the great work that had already happened thanks to other leaders in the community.
Everything we learned ended up in a comprehensive report, which aims to provide a complete picture of poverty in HRM. It includes 129 specific, concrete ideas for action. The ideas are not a roadmap that any one organization can follow. Rather, their purpose is to inform businesses, non-profits, government, and individuals about the changes our community needs to see. They are examples of how to put equity at the centre of how we work, invest, develop policy, and live.
Building Poverty Solutions is an important marker in the journey toward a poverty-free city. And it’s been an anchor for everything United Way Halifax has done since.