NEIGHBOURHOOD PARTNERS: CO-OPERATION BY LINKING
CSR AT EIGEN HAARD Founded in 1909 Eigen Haard has a long tradition in Dutch social housing. Along with its partners, it works in vital neighbourhoods in a healthy regional housing market. Its mission is to offer affordable housing to people who need it most in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Eigen Haard’s CSR goals and targets are firmly anchored in its mission and business strategy. It fulfils its social responsibilities through strong engagement combined with a matter-of-fact approach. OBJECTIVE To ensure long-term, respectful, sustainable and mutual commitment with local organisations so as to enhance services and actions to the benefit of neighbourhoods and their residents. CONTEXT Effort is required in vulnerable and less self-reliant neighbourhoods to keep the liveability on a committed level. A lot of organisations are active in the neighbourhoods, sometimes with overlapping goals. These organisations have extensive knowledge and expertise in the area and have a large network in the district; they also reach people who are hard to reach for the more formal organisations. By joining forces we achieve more impact. Finding connections with active community groups, organisations and other partners is not only more customer focused and effective, but also more efficient and saves costs for the landlord. Key partners in neighbourhoods are volunteer organisations and neighbourhood enterprises: either community organisations controlled and organised by residents, and/or volunteers who live and/or work in the neighbourhood. In order to properly work together with these organisations, Eigen Haard has developed the “Neighbourhood partner” product. DESCRIPTION OF THE GOOD PRACTICE The product Neighbourhood Partners is based on an agreement between Eigen Haard and the active community organisation. The essence of this agreement is to establish an equal partnership with community organisations and specify both parties’ roles and contributions. For example Eigen Haard provides resources or workspace and the contract partner delivers services in exchange. Eigen Haard also offers employees insurance for liability and accidents while they are working for them. The purpose of the partnership is in line with the activities of the neighbourhood partner. These activities are in such areas as:
- Liveability of neighbourhoods: “Stichting Ara Cora”: Ara Cora means “give the ball” in Moroccan. It is a voluntary initiative to support young people’s personal and social development in underprivileged neighbourhoods in Nieuw West, through sports, helping them to catch up – again – with society. They also support parents in raising their children, taking responsibility and integrating themselves.
- Residents support on the road to self-reliance: “BOOT” (Neighbourhood store for Education, Research & Talent development of the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam): advises the residents of Amsterdam Oost on general social, financial and legal issues. BOOT also supports other neighbourhood partners in their professional and operational development.
- Support to vulnerable residents: “Stichting Present” (works in all Amsterdam neighbourhoods) has a wide network of volunteers to help vulnerable residents who lack networks, resources and finances. Services offered include: refurbishing derelict gardens and houses, helping with moving in/out, taking people out for the day and cleaning and tidying. The encounter and contact between the helper and the helped person is an essential part of Present’s work.
- Increased specific knowledge of the neighbourhood and its residents which can be used in Eigen Haard’s policies, projects and activities. This ‘local knowledge’ is essential to the success or failure of projects or activities in the area of liveability.
- Each partner takes responsibility for their activities, finding each other on common grounds
- Improved image of Eigen Haard in the districts: it is seen as a committed partner rather than an institution.
- Strengthened residents’ (social) ownership of their neighbourhood, making them more strongly, durably and actively involved
- Cleaner, safer and more comfortable neighbourhoods.
- Increased effectiveness in projects carried out, based on a better assessment of needs and opportunities, through partners’ knowledge, which avoids investing in activities that are not needed.
European Responsible Housing Awards 2014
Modalidad Local social sustainability