Engaging Underserved Communities on Public Infrastructure Projects
Why EcoLogix Group was engaged:
Increasingly, public agencies have come to understand the critical importance of strengthening their relationships with underserved communities. Regulations require public input and federal and state polices explicitly detail how to engage underserved communities. Despite their best efforts to satisfy regulations and follow guidance documents, agencies repeatedly face challenges in effectively connecting with underserved communities. These challenges have led to unnecessary opposition, project delays or even abandonment, added costs, and longstanding distrust. Seeing the need for the assistance of a messenger who is trusted by stakeholders and advocates, public agencies turned to EcoLogix Group to engage with underserved communities ahead of project development.
How EcoLogix Group Responded:
The EcoLogix Group approach to engagement is based in the belief that merely satisfying regulatory requirements for public input is not nearly enough. This approach actually frustrates underserved communities because those communities feel it is too late in the process for them to provide meaningful input. Rather than waiting for the formal public comment period to start, EcoLogix Group met with the faith based and citizen leaders in underserved communities to understand their interests and goals. As our people became known and trusted in the underserved communities, transparency, honesty and openness became the hallmarks of discussions about the projects. This early relationship building and frequent communications promoted a productive dialogue on project design. Learn more.
Projects ultimately both accommodated the needs of the underserved communities and met all of the agencies’ goals. The approach not only avoided contentious and adversarial situations, it led to better projects that were supported by the communities.