In order to create successful and thriving neighborhoods that include equitable pathways to social and economic mobility for families. USI plans and coordinates a thoughtful network of supports that operate concurrently with community revitalization efforts during the Planning, Redevelopment, and Sustainable life cycles of each community. To ensure the coordination of these supports, USI provides a seamless family supportive services system to offer residents a single point of entry to a full continuum of resources, services, and programs.
The USI Programming Roadmap
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Our comprehensive family supportive services system increases the access that low- and moderate-income families have to the community resources that break down barriers to self-sufficiency and economic mobility. Driven by the conviction that community-based services must support the entire family unit, the model applies a two-generation approach that ensures able-bodied adults receive education and work support, that parents have adequate knowledge of child development and parenting skills, and that children are engaged in education, particularly in their early years. In our family supportive services approach, we link children and families to an array of self-sufficiency support programs, such as workforce education, public safety initiatives, mental and physical health resources, and resident leadership development.
These links, or Pillars of Service, guide our impact with each household.
The USI Programing Pillars of Service
Human Capital Plan Development
The Human Capital Plan is developed through a public engagement process that includes information gathering and data collection from a series of public meetings, small group sessions, and one-on-one meetings with stakeholders. An analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the Human Capital planning process, coupled with surveying, research, and data assessment, leads to the development of three primary core focus areas that are determined as the essential human capital development needs of the community:
- Job Skills Development and Training Opportunities for Adults
- Small Business Development, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development
- Educational Opportunities for Children and Youth
USI works with Public Housing Authorities, city government officials, foundations, and other stakeholders to conduct community engagement processes around neighborhood conditions and human service needs. This process includes resident surveys, service and amenity assessments, and focus groups with key stakeholders. Through the community engagement process, stakeholders’ priorities are identified, and USI ensures success by integrating a human capital plan with the identified physical revitalization plan. Because we are mindful of the existing and authentic strengths of a community, our human capital plans focus on collaboration, building on current community assets while avoiding duplication of services.
The Human Capital Plan is the component of a neighborhood’s master redevelopment plan that focuses exclusively on the design of services and supports to improve the quality of life for vulnerable residents in the community while enhancing its appeal to prospective residents who have the economic ability to make choices about where they live. The Human Capital Plan is tailored to build on the assets of the area and diminish the individual and structural challenges to social and economic development faced by residents as well as business, civic, and institutional stakeholders.
Along with planning and supporting communities and families, USI also leverages funding opportunities to build sustainability plans for communities to thrive long after their redevelopment. Our sustainability model showcases the best of resident-led community redevelopment that a neighborhood elevates and supports. As our national work progresses, communities’ phase from planning to redevelopment to sustainable and thriving communities, for families and seniors.
Green Streets is a community owned and operated green business that manages recycling and composting, educates neighbors on how to reduce waste and provides integrated janitorial services. Green Streets was founded in 2010 by a group of young entrepreneurs who were charged to invest in their communities and create a better future for their planet, their city and themselves. Green Streets offers environmental waste management services for businesses, homes, and multi-family properties, and is committed to environmental stewardship through the principle of Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.
Green Garden Bakery is a group of young entrepreneurs from the Heritage Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, who have started their own environmentally friendly youth-run business. Youth participants grow vegetables in their community garden, bake them into healthy vegetable-based desserts, and sell them at local farmer’s markets and festivals. One-third of the proceeds of the sales go directly to compensate youth leaders, one-third is reinvested into the business, and one-third is donated to local community needs the youth identify. In 2017, the youth-led entrepreneurship won the Youth Division of the MN Cup Entrepreneurship Competition, the country’s largest statewide new venture competition. To learn more, visit the Green Garden Bakery’s website.
RENAISSANCE PLACE AT GRAND
In 2016, two youth residents of St. Louis’ Renaissance Place at Grand’s Room13Delmar, an after-school social justice art program held in the neighborhood’s community space, accepted the opportunity to travel to Bristol, England to visit with the youth artist of Room13Harclive to begin discussions for their collaborative art project.
AGING IN PLACE
USI has extensive experience in the design and programming of mixed-income independent senior living communities, and in the development of senior and intergenerational activities. We serve as a consultant and technical assistance provider to housing authorities, developers, and property managers of senior living communities across the United States to ensure that the physical design, including the residential units, community spaces, fixtures, and amenities support the needs of senior residents aging in place.
To further support elderly residents, we assess needs and ensure the development and implementation of a service support plan that addresses components critical to successful aging in place, such as:
- Preventative physical and mental health care
- Support for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) including transportation
- Housekeeping, nutrition, and personal care
- Lifelong learning and civic engagement
- Socialization and recreation
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USI offers a variety of ways for leaders like you to help revitalize communities and empower the families that live within them. Contact your local office for opportunities to volunteer.