Community development is a broad term applied to the practices and principles of involved residents, citizens, civic leaders, activists and professionals who work to improve the social, economic and environmental qualities of our communities. Habitat for Humanity’s mission and principles call us to participate in this work, and specifically to do so through partnerships and from a housing solutions perspective.
Habitat for Humanity’s Definition of Community Development
Community development is both a process and the result of an organized and ongoing effort in a community. It is based upon a shared vision for the quality of life that residents wish to achieve and sustain.
Core Principles of Community Development
As Habitat applies this definition, we commit to use these core principles in our community development efforts:
- We will work in a distinct, definable community.
- We will assume an asset-based approach to working with the community.
- We will adopt a humble, listening approach to the community.
- We will identify, respect and honor those who speak on behalf of the community.
- We will recognize that housing is one component of a community development strategy.
- We will offer a range of housing products and services to contribute to the community’s aspirations.
- We will make a multi-year commitment to the community in which we agreed to work.
- We will commit to a process that holds the participants accountable to evaluating our work.
When engaging in community development, our work must be contextualized to the local community. Common elements of Habitat for Humanity’s community development practices will include:
- preparing to participate in a community development project
- selecting a community in which to build relationships
- partnering with community stakeholders
- engaging in a community development planning process (or study it, if already completed)
- contributing to the implementation of the community development plan
- mobilizing resources to implement the plan
- monitoring and evaluating the realization of the plan