Bigger, Stronger, Better
Thoughts from members of our Team as leaders in the affordable housing industry.
Director of Programs
How Archway’s Supportive Services Develops Opportunities for Health and Wellness
At Archway Communities, we’re learning alongside our residents about how to best support each of our communities’ distinct needs and insights into building better health and wellness. We’ve started with the basics, like no-cost grocery programs, opportunities to gather around cultural holidays, planned outings and developmental activities for youth, connection to classes for new Americans, support resources for those in recovery, and financial health workshops. Some of my favorite services we offer are the most customized ones: for one of our communities with a garden, the services coordinator leads popular cooking classes using freshly harvested ingredients. At Fountain Ridge, organized kickball and softball games bring about a sense of both healthy competition and camaraderie. And at a third, we’re piloting some animal-assisted therapy for residents in recovery.
We’re taking the next steps seriously, and we want to get them right: our goal is to provide meaningful supportive services that help individuals and families build resiliency, agency, and community connections. And we want these services to be informed directly by resident feedback and experience. To that end, we launched our first resident needs assessment this summer, with plans for another in the spring. We heard a lot of requests for more choices and frequency with our no-cost grocery programs, which we will be renovating in the coming months. Coming out of the pandemic restrictions, we weren’t surprised to learn many residents want more in-person programming and opportunities for connection. In some cases, residents told us they want to play a role in facilitating or leading those experiences, and we’re looking forward to partnering with them to do so.
Leaning into the learning element of our culture and utilizing resident input, we’re making plans to expand and customize our programming, like voter registration and education, job skills training, music and art classes, and opportunities to connect with residents at other properties. We’re thinking a lot about mindfulness – how to invite it, and how to share it. We’re also thinking about internet access and digital literacy, conflict resolution skills, crime prevention, and advocating and building relationships with local elected officials and other leaders like city council members and community resource officers.
These are the ways we’re building health and wellness, in all of its definitions and iterations, into our residential communities. Tapping into the wisdom and experience of our residents, leveraging resources with our partners, and fostering the passion with which our dedicated onsite coordinators, property managers, and maintenance specialists bring to work every day. This results in a framework for responsive and wholistic community building upon which we’re proud to consistently improve and innovate.