Podcast: Partnering with Residents to Improve Asthma through Housing in Greensboro, NC

Josie Williams, Greensboro Housing Coalition

Josie Williams, Project Coordinator at the Greensboro Housing Coalition, joined the podcast to discuss a BUILD-funded project called “Collaborative Cottage Grove” that is fostering resident-led efforts to improve poor housing conditions that are leading to asthma-related emergency department visits in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Greensboro, NC. Motivated by a desire to improve conditions in neighborhoods similar to the one she grew up in, and guided by resident voices, Williams is working with multi-sector partners to map asthma hospital visits and housing condition data to identify areas in need of support. The collaborative is also in the process of developing an electronic referral system to link families with asthma education and housing assessments.

Additional Resources:

This podcast is also available on iTunesStitcher, and TuneIn.

Takeaways from the Interview

In the words of Josie Williams…

1. Let residents guide the decision-making

“We ground everything we do in an understanding that–yes, we need to build strong relationships and align various partners with like missions. But more importantly, we need to listen to what the residents are saying because ultimately, that is their neighborhood. If you want to help them create change, then you have to step back and listen and let them guide the decision-making.”

2. Before taking action, take time build up trust with the community

“You cannot make anything happen until you take the time to engage residents and build up trust. If you want consistent, constant, real engagement from residents–if you want them to show up–you have to show up first and be present just to be there to hear from them and what they see their challenges are.”

3. The combination of data with resident stories makes a strong case

“What we were looking at and hearing was the qualitative data. What we needed was the quantitative data in order to really get others on board…We began to ask–how can we get the data to back up what we’re hearing and seeing? It’s not that we were invalidating what the residents were saying; we wanted to validate it on paper with the numbers.”

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